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tv   U.S. Senate U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 15, 2022 2:15pm-6:18pm EST

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of defense for international security affairs. if this were any other time, mr. president, her nomination would almost certainly sailed through the senate with unanimous consent without the need for a roll call vote. >> we take you live to the u.s. senate keeping our over for your commitment to live coverage of congress. the senate is about to gavel back in after recess for their weekly party caucus again caucus lunches. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from kansas. mr. moran: thank you, mr. president. i rise this afternoon to support my -- express my support for the postal service reform act, a piece of legislation that we expected to be on the senate floor this week and look forward to it appearing shortly. the united states postal service
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has been struggling to stay financially solvent for years, and i'm pleased congress is finally, i say finally -- i think for as long as i've been in the senate, perhaps as long as i've been in congress -- we've been working to address this issue. i'm pleased we're about to do so. the postal service has long been an essential piece of american communications and commerce, but its financial condition has always threatened -- has recently, at least, threatened its future. kansas' rural communities in particular, where broadband access to brick-and-mortar businesses are limited, rely heavily responsible the essential services of the postal service as a means of staying connected and competitive. the familiar sight of a u.s. postal service truck, the jeep, the truck that goes down our country roads, making its deliveries is part of the daily life for kansas farmers, ranchers, businesses, and neighborhoods. for rural america, the postal service, their mailman or mail
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woman is often the glue that keeps those communities connected to the rest of the country. in many instances, we rely upon our postal carriers to make certain somebody is alive and well, that they're okay in their homes, and to report odd behavior or a crime that might occur. our postal carriers are a significant component of the fabric of our communities. unique in its ability to reach nearly every address in america, the postal service is an indispensable piece of infrastructure, in fact, created by the constitution of the united states, giving us the instructions to provide postal roads. during the height of the pandemic, the postal service employees maintained their delivery routes, bringing essential medicines, groceries, and vital supplies to family door steps. we pay a lot of attention to veteran issues. i highlight how important the postal service is for those who served our nation. in most instances, it is how they receive their prescription drugs. it's beyond handwritten cards and notes.
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those are important, an important components of our life. we all enjoy receiving those. but the nation is reminded firsthand about the irreplaceable role of the postal service. as i said in my earliest days since representing kansans in congress, i've advocated for the preservation of rural pornographerses and common serns referral -- common sense referrals. with every conversation with the post master general, i remind them to spend less on consultants and listen to the employees, the best people to tell them what to do to improve efficiency and save costs. when a post office closes, and we've had a few of those happen too frequently in kansas, it creates problems for businesses and families, it may cause significant harm to the local economy, and it certainly makes a difference in the lives of seniors in those communities. for the past several sessions of congress, the senator from delaware, senator carper, and i have introduced postal reform
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legislation and worked together with the goal of putting the postal service on firmer financial footing, improving service and allowing for the development of new revenue streams and enhancing transparency through performance metrics. i indicated to the postmaster generals in my conversation that the solution to the post office's financial conditions can be simply reducing the services. the more services are reduced, the less likely americans will or can use the postal service. closing post offices, shortening the numbers of days in which mail is delivered, reducing the hours of a post office, slowing the delivery of the mail, closing mail sorting centers can't be the solution to making certain that the post office has a bright future and that americans are served. the postal service reform act of 2022 which i hope is on the floor soon for our consideration, it was passed by the house last week and we look forward to its arrival here, it
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builds upon our previous attempts to accomplish postal reform. included in these reforms is the creation of a new postal service health benefits program and focusing on reestablishing, stabilizing the usps' finances, instead of funding benefits in advance. the bill will allow the postal service to enter into agreements with state, local, and tribal governments as a new method of revenue. i'm pleased that the bill will codify six-day delivery, which is a provision i've long supported as an appropriator and that greatly benefits rural kansas homes where mail delivery is more difficult. postal service reform act represents a great step forward to ensure that kansans and americans continue to rely upon the united states postal service. i am a sponsor of this bill, and i intend to support it when it arrives in the senate for a vote and urge my colleagues to join me in doing so. madam president, i yield the floor.
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ms. murkowski: madam president. the presiding officer: the senior senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: i rise to speak about the ongoing crisis in ukraine. as we all know, the current situation is pretty tough right now. russia amassed more than 100 ,000 troops on or close to ukraine's border, may be planning to launch a full-scale invasion within a matter of days. this follows, of course, their illegal seizure of the crime an -- creaman -- crimean
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peninsula. as a senator from alaska, the state that is clearly most approximate to -- proximate to russia, we are all too familiar with russia's aggressive tactics, they routinely fly near our air space. they sail through our waters. they test our defenses and reactions. in august of 2020, a flotilla of russian warships and military aircraft encroached into our e.e.z., our economics -- exclusive economic zone, there in the bearing sea. they repeatedly harassed our fishermen, forcing them to leave their waters from which their very livelihood flows. the fishermen were shocked. i mean, just stunned with what they saw. and they literally left millions of dollars of fisheries' assets out on the line. provocative actions, and we felt
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that provocation. they're disturbing. they're alarming. but there are also some perhaps smaller, maybe symbolic actions that can also be a little unsettling. it was several years ago now we were at an arctic conference and the russian delegation give me a diplomatic gift at a conference that featured maps showing alaska back as part of their territory. maybe they thought it was funny. i did not take it as such. what is happening on the ukrainian border is something else entirely. it is -- it's impossible not to be rattled by what we're seeing, worried by where it could lead. but i think we recognize in this body what we need to do, what we need to focus on. we need to turn these concerns into resolve, and that resolve needs to lead to action. i know that there are many in
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this chamber working very, very hard, and i thank them for that, working towards a sanctions package. the bipartisan goal is to deter russia from invading ukraine, but also to impose severe sanctions if that happens, and i know that the joint effort has perhaps stalled out right now, but hopefully the two sides and the white house will come together to finalize it. i believe it is an imperative that we have a united front on this matter. a united congress on the matter of sanctions, i think, is a powerful message in and of itself. madam president, if we can bring a sanctions package to the floor, i'm going to be asking colleagues to consider two additions to that. one, to restrict imports of
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russian seafood. and a second related to russian energy. so, with respect to seafood, russia has had an import ban on american seafood since 2014. since 2014. most americans don't know that russia responded to u.s. sanctions imposed after their annexation of crimea by banning u.s. sea forward imports, among other goods at that time. so that's been in place all these many years. and it is absolutely unfair that russia has unlimited access to sell its seafood in the united states, while america's fishermen and our seafood processors, particularly those in my state of alaska, have no access to markets in russia. so, this embargo either needs to end or we need to incorporate resip rickal measures --
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reciprocal measures. when it comes to energy, we simply do not need u.s. dollars to be financing russia's territorial aggressions, especially when we have everything that we need here at home. there's a lot to be understand about the crisis in ukraine, how russia is undermining the international order and disrupting well-established global norms, how the potential for an invasion threatens not just ukraine but european and global security, how an invasion could lead to catastrophic escalation and enormous loss of life, and how this situation impacts the united states, whether we want to involve ourselves or not. and how a diplomatic solution still exists if russia chooses such a path. what i want to focus on today are two aspects of this crisis that have received less attention so far. the first is how an invasion
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could destabilize the arctic as part of a far-reaching wave of secondary impacts. and the second is the role that poor energy policy has played in actually strengthening russia's hands. madam president, i've come to this floor many, many times to talk about the importance of the arctic, the united states is an arctic nation because of alaska. we rely on the region for everything from energy, minerals, seafood, shipping, national defense, and we've always worked, we've all endeavored to keep the high north as a region of peace. an area where geopolitical challenges are often compartmentalized in favor of collaboration and partnership. you need to work hard in remote, isolated, cold, dark places. you need to work together. so, my concern today, as we're
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talking about russia and ukraine, is for the ripple effects that an invasion could have in the arctic. i am worried that it will derail much of what we have been able to accomplish in the region and make it hard or impossible for the united states to trust and work with russia in the region. i'm also worried about what russia's brinksmanship means for our friends in the arctic. certainly, if i were finland or sweden i'd be looking over my shoulder right you no. this is the type of crisis that could convince them to join nato. at the same time, however, i certainly respect those nations' rights and discretion to choose their alliances carefully and discussions about them should include them. i also fear for the health of the arctic council, the leading governmental forum promoting cooperation in the arctic. last year, i had an opportunity
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to join secretary blinken in representing the united states at the council's biennial min steerial. it was at that time that iceland transferred the gavel to russia, which is chairing the council through may 2023. i think it was important that secretary blinken attend this event in person to reaffirm the united states' role in this important governing body. but attending the meeting did more than that. convening in the arctic provided an opportunity for secretary blinken to meet for the first time in his russian counterpart. and while there, the two diplomats agreed that while our countries have differences, the world would be safer if we worked together where our interests intersect. and one of those areas is the arctic, and we need to be able to continue to work together in this region. it is interesting to note that
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with all the ongoing diplomatic discussions between the u.s. and russia playing out in places like geneva and paris, the first time this administration discussed the topic of troop movements on the ukrainian border with russia in person was on the sidelines of the arctic council ministerial in may. there are very few places in the world that a meeting like this would be politically palatable for either country. yet the arctic has provided a place for the u.s. and russia to convene even when we have our differences. all you need to do is to look back to 1986, the reykjavik summit between preyed reagan and premier gorbachev. inside a small, little house in a small arctic country, the leaders of the two biggest powers convened and nearly
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agreed to ban all ballistic missiles. that meeting in iceland paved the way for nuclear forces treatings and the eventual end of the cold war. but the situation we're faced with today begs the question -- what will become of our relationship with russia in the arctic if they move forward with war against ukraine? last week i participated in a virtual meeting of the arctic parliamentarians. this is a group composed of members of parliaments and congress of the eight arctic nations. i've been representing the u.s. on the standing committee for years and years, decades now, including -- these are all of the arctic countries, including russia, of course. but the purpose of this body is to promote regional cooperation. and as was the norm at our meetings, we focus on things
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that are impacting the peoples in our region. this past week's meeting was no different. we focused on covid impacts, mental health, environmental issues, arctic infrastructure. and while the growing security issue was not raised, it was kind of an unspoken shadow. and i throw this out there because i know that while i think about the arctic every day, i can guarantee you that the arctic is not top of mind for most on capitol hill. it took us nearly a decade to secure funding for a new icebreaker, which won't be put to sea for another five years, all while russia launches a new one every year. i want -- i want the foreign relations and the armed services committee to pay more attention to the arctic and to look -- look to the region as both a strategic asset and a diplomatic tool. we often talk about how valuable
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this region is, but it can only be useful if we use it. and i'm afraid that sometimes we just overlook or we neglect its importance, and i think its time that we change that. -- and i think it's time that we change that. now, another subject is the issue of energy. it certainly deserves discussion when we look to europe's energy policies, which have only served to weaken their ability to respond to russia's aggression. this is a crisis for many countries in europe, but i think it's also a timely warning for us here in the united states. europe imports about 40% of its natural gas and 27% of its oil from russia. the nord stream 2 pipeline would only add to that total while sidelining ukraine as a key transit point. and therein lies the problem.
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europe is already heavily dependent on russia for energy, but they're doubling down. their needs are particularly acute in the depths of winter, and that has perhaps undermined some european nations' willingness to respond to russian aggression. and, madam president, i would suggest that the biden administration is putting us on a similar path when it comes to our oil and gas. if they continue to shut down domestic resource production, we cannot magically shift to renewables and do this overnight. what will happen is we will become more dependent on others for our supply. we've already seen some signs of this happening, perhaps not directly the fault of the biden administration, but instead the thinking that it has embraced. look at california. california's foreign oil
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imports, their foreign oil imports, have risen significantly over the past 30 years as production in their state and especially alaska has declined. for the last three years, the united states has actually imported more oil from russia than we were allowed to produce in alaska. so why -- why would we choose to forego the jobs and the revenues from domestic energy production to instead send our dollars to russia and others? it's beyond me. and so are the actions the biden administration has taken over its first year or so in office, which have been explicitly designed to limit production from states like alaska even further. they shut down federal oil and gas leasing for months with an eye toward making that permanent until the courts intervened. they have refused to implement the law when it comes to the 1002 area of anwr. they're taking millions of acres
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out of leasing in our npra. they've stalled projects and rejected pipelines, which of course are the safest and cleanest ways to move energy to where it is needed. as energy prices have risen, the biden administration has gone to opec to ask them to just produce more. just as our allies and partners around the world realize they need and they want our energy, the administration has halted federal investment that helps facilitate overseas l.n.g. terminals. i've suggested the president and his team really ought to be thankful that the provisions in the build back better that target the domestic oil and gas industry did not go through because they would have only made the situation worse. if there was ever a moment for energy realism, it is right now. the biden administration and many here in congress need to recognize the immense benefits
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of american resource production here at home and for the rest of the world, and they need to see clearly the immense consequences of refusing to allow those activities to proceed. and i will just add one further point here. if russia could leverage europe on ukraine over natural gas, china can do the same to the united states on taiwan over minerals. we are deeply, deeply dependent on china, and they are well aware they can inflict massive economic consequences by cutting off our access to a range of raw materials and components. we have to address this weakness through every option that we have available to us. we certainly have opportunities, -- we certainly have opportunities in my state of
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alaska for mines and mine access to address this real situation with our minerals. madam president, none of us know exactly what will happen in ukraine. we pray for de-escalation. we take some solace from the continuation of diplomatic talks. but almost no one believes that russia is just going to walk away. all i can think is that we've got to find ways to make it not worth it for russia. every little bit that we can do to make this painful for russia, to prevent the loss of life, to punish this behavior, to call out inunwillingness to be a -- call out its unwillingness to be a responsibly neighbor, all that we can do is necessary -- all that we can do is necessary at this point. with that, a i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: as we speak, vladimir putin 100,000 soldiers, tanks, artillery, aircraft and missiles, along ukraine's border. two ukraine's north, , belarus, russia has positioned tens of
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thousands more troops as part of a military exercise. two ukraine's south, russian ships are amassing in the black sea. i began to in this information on the internet and on russian tv channels as part of the russian playbook we now know very well. the kremlin's intent is to manufacture a pretext for its aggression and so division in the west. russian troops already occupy vast tracts of ukraine in crimea, continue a quote-unquote low-grade war in eastern ukraine, a war initiated by mr. putin that has cost already over 14,000 lives. ukrainian soldiers have been bravely fighting, and dying, to protect their country in what is
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been naked aggression from russia. we hear even from ukraine leadership that their forces grass i come --. mr. grassley: i come to the floor to give you an example of some of the hypocrisy that goes on in this town. on february 11 last week, special counsel durham made another filing with respect to the case against clinton mccain lawyer -- clinton campaign lawyer michael sussmann. i've spoken to my colleagues before to discuss special counsel durham's findings in this matter. today i want to highlight new evidence that has come with this filing.
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special counsel durham's filing said that at trial, his team will establish that a firm tied to the clinton campaign misused internet traffic pertaining to four entities -- a health care provider, trump tower, a donald trump apartment building in new york, and the executive office of the president of the united states. the clinton campaign essentially spied on the trump campaign. after trump was elected, the clinton campaigns work continued. now how did they do it? according to special counsel durham, the clinton campaign
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worked with cyber researchers to infiltrate private and government servers connected to donald trump. their main conduit was tech executive one. in july 2016, according to special counsel durham, i quote, tech executive one also enlisted the assistance of researchers at a u.s.-based university who were receiving and analyzing large amounts of internet data in connection with a pending federal government cybersecurity research contract, end of quote. in addition, tech executive one had access to dedicated servers for the executive office of the
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president as part of a, quote, sensitive arrangement, end quote. this individual, quote, exploited this arrangement for the purpose of gathering derogatory information about donald trump, end of quote. according to special counsel durham, the clinton campaign through tech executive one abused, quote, nonpublic or proprietary internet data, end of quote. one question that needs to be answered is whether any of this exploited information and data included classified information. the available facts show that the clinton campaign abused
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federal government contracts to exploit government information to use against trump. if the republicans did the same thing, we all know you wouldn't hear the end of it. the democrats and media would want another impeachment of trump. all of these outrageous acts were done to create fake connections between trump and russia. that included the fake alpha bank narrative. that narrative centered on allegations that trump had secret communications channel with the russian bank. it was all fabricated by the clinton campaign. there was nothing to it.
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and let's not forget that jake sullivan spread the fake alpha bank narrative, and he spread it far and wide. sullivan is now president biden's national security advisor. he needs to answer for his role in this entire fiasco. even the obama administration servers communicated with the sayings russian servers that were apparently the basis of the false russia connection. now just think how ridiculously this rollout was. with this so-called evidence against trump in hand, on february 9, 2017, sussmann provided updated allegations to an unnamed u.s. government
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agency. of course he left out the obama administration's connections. some of those connections included that trump and his associates used rare russia-made wireless phones near the white house. durham said that there was no evidence of that, but some evidence is very, very clear. during the election, the clinton campaign spied on the trump campaign. after clinton lost, the clinton campaign spied on the trump administration. and they did it by abusing federal government government contracts and they were also -- they did it by access to
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government information. trump has reportedly said that the clinton campaign spied on his campaign. the mainstream media either ignored him or called him a liar. based upon special counsel durham's filings, trump, it turns out, was right. the clinton campaign, mainstream media, and democratic party did what they could do to destroy trump no matter the cost to the truth or the cost to the country. the house democrats, with the backing of corporate media, set up a january 6 commission to investigate what they termed the big lie. where are those on the january 6 commission when it comes to investigating the big lie or the
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clinton campaign worked with the sitting obama administration and taxpayers' money in trying to destroy their political opponent? that's just as dangerous as our democracy. as i conclude my remarks, let me come to grips with this absolute fact. the clinton campaign's conspiracy of dirty tricks set in motion a chain of events that have ripped this country apart for years. so much for peaceful transition to power. now what's disturbing to me about the hypocrisy in this town is that we have the first amendment, freedom of press, where i see journalists as keeping government honest. and i don't see the people that
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knew that they were wrong about this issue for four or five years are willing to admit that now they haven't done their job properly. and a lot of things that make government dishonest -- and i just told you how this was done -- don't seem to be worried about policing the political system the way they should. i haven't seen anybody apologize. i did see a rerun of something that happened october 20 within the last couple of days. an interview between one of these journalists and president trump where president trump was trying to tell people that this stuff was going on, and they said, no, there's no proof of it. there's no proof of it. they are saying today there's no truth to that.
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i think we all know that trump wasn't in government, maybe even lacked some understanding of how the political system works. but he came to town to challenge the elite that are inside the beltway and change things. and somebody knew that he was up to that, and they wanted to stop him from doing it, so they spied on the campaign so he wouldn't be elected. and once he was elected, he spied on the executive office to see what they could do. i remember a story that a friend of mine told me about, talking to some democrat senator in february of 2017, who told that friend of mine that trump would not be president by the end of
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that year, of 2017. now whether that senator knew what he was talking about, i don't know, but i reflect back on that conversation i had with that friend and i wondered if they really thought that by doing what we know now they were doing, that they were going to be able to get him out of office before the end of 2017. so i give you a little example of what i call hypocrisy in this city. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor today to talk about the economy. right now inflation is at a record high. at the same time what we're seeing is that joe biden's approval rating by the people all across this country is at a
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record low, and there is a connection. this morning the majority leader came to the floor of the senate and said that democrats were going to talk about inflation at their policy lunch today. today, february 15, 2022, 13 months after joe biden took office. democrats have been in power for almost 13 months. they control the white house, they control the senate, they control the house of representatives. ten months into this inflation crisis, what they're doing is putting forward gimmicks, not solutions. they want to get past the upcoming election. they don't want to get to long-term solutions for our nation. on thursday the world found out that prices in the united states had risen at their fastest pace in 40 years.
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and of course that was the same day that joe biden's approval rating dropped to 40%. the american people are getting squeezed financially. they are feeling the pain and they are furious with president biden. since joe biden became president, wages have gone up slower than prices. prices have gone up faster than wages. people can't keep up. hard to even stay even. as a result, the american family today can afford a lot less than they could the day that joe biden took office. over the last year, inflation outpaced wages by over $1,400,
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that's over 1,000 a month differential. how do you catch up? well, it's families struggling, it's people living on a fixed income, it's people going to work every day to put bread on the table. in other words, the people that are hurt the most are the people who can afford it the least. they are feeling the pain and paying the price every time they go to the grocery store and every time they go to the gas pump. big price increases have occurred in energy. cnbc reports that one in five american families can't afford to pay the energy bill over the past year. the same number roughly have kept their homes at an uncomfortably and unhealthy temperature because they can't afford the cost of energy to heat it.
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many have had to choose whether they were going to heat or to eat. gas prices have gone up by over $1 a gallon since joe biden became president. american energy production still is not to the level that it was before the pandemic. so we're still producing 1.2 million fewer barrels of oil each day than we were before the pandemic, not producing it here, but, oh, by the way, vladimir putin is selling five million barrels of oil a day of crude oil in the international markets. this is a direct result of the anti-american energy policies of joe biden and his entire administration and the democrat party in this country. people understand simple supply and demand. when the supply goes down and the demand stays the same or goes up, prices go up as well.
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it's also what happened with america's workforce. democrats created the worst labor shortage in american history. we've broken records for unfilled jobs five of the last 12 months. so when did it start in well, it started in march of this past year when democrats passed their $2 trillion spending bill which was not paid for, added to the debt and the bill gave a bonus payment for people to stay home from work. people were getting paid more to not go to work than they were able to make had they gone to work. so what happened when the bonuses ran out? joe biden imposed a national vaccine mandate, saying if you don't get the vaccine, you lose your job. the vaccine mandate took a sledgehammer to the american workforce. according to one survey, half of american small businesses
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couldn't find enough workers just this past december. if you drive around wyoming, you will see help wanted signs all around my home state. what it meant was empty shelves and higher prices. supply goes down, prices go up. now, the opposite is also true. that what we've seen with the value of the dollar. last march democrats flooded the country with government cash. now the dollar, in many people's wallets and pocketbooks, doesn't go as far as it did before. democrats passed the largest single-spending bill they american history, put $2 trillion on the nation's credit card. republicans warned, do not do this. it will cause inflation. democrats didn't listen. every single democrat in this senate voted for it. every single democrat voted for
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it. every single republican voted against it, and joe biden signed it. since then, prices have gone up faster than wages. first they said it was going to be temporary and then astonishingly in july, joe biden said inflation was expected. he kind of bragged that he'd seen it coming all along. well, if he'd seen it coming all along, why didn't he do something about it? all this president has done is put jet fuel on the fire of inflation. he told us inflation would be transitory and he said it month after month after month. can't say it anymore, oh, no, inflation is here and people are paying the price and feeling the pain. last week's inflation report
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should be a blaring siren to the democrats in washington and i'm so happy to hear the majority leader this morning saying, finally, today at lunch, february 15, 2022, that the democrats were going to start talking about inflation at their policy lunch today. they should all be suffering from significant indegestion. this is a crisis and democrats are doing nothing about it. democrats borrowed billions of dollars. they are talking about spending more, talking about a blank check, unlimited borrowing, trillions and trillions more in spending, which will only mean higher and higher inflation. inflation will not go away on its own. democrats need to stop the
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reckless spending. they need to stop the nationwide mandates. they need to stop shutting down american energy. the american people cannot afford anymore records like the ones that joe biden is setting right now. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. tillis: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. tillis: thank you, madam president. madam president, i always strive to treat each and every nominee, regardless of their affiliation, with dignity and respect. i evaluate their credentials and make a decision on whether to support them based on their qualifications, their temperament and whether they will serve the interests of all of the american people. that's why on my role on the judiciary committee i voted for half of all of joe biden's
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nominees. some deserved confirmation and in my judgment some weren't. again, i evaluate each nominee on an independent and fair basis. with this in mind, i hope my colleagues will take seriously what i have to say today. i rise to peek in -- speak in opposition of perhaps one of the most radical nominees the president has put forward to date. i'm talking about the nomination of gi gi sohn. she is the type of radical activist we should avoid. her radical activist track record and her, excuse me, her out of the mainstream views on everything from free speech to intellectual property indicate that she will weaponize the
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f.c.c. against the american people. she has made no secret of the fact that she loatdz loathes -- loathes anyone who doesn't share her world view. one need look no further as deeming fox news as a state-sponsored propaganda. she supported state government using their power to destroy public news outlets. when they tried to pressure broadcasters into dropping news organizations, she supported their effort. and it doesn't stop there. if confirmed, she will have the power to censure media and retaliate against any view different from her own. she's also made it clear she simply detests republicans as people. she's claimed senate republicans are a threat to our republic and claimed their ideology has
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overtaken their duty to serve their constituents. she even claimed that republicans can only win elections by suppressing the vote and destroying democracy. as someone who won reelection in a state with nearly 80% turnout in the last election, can i tell her that isn't the case. and if her disdain for conservative media isn't enough, she is a radical anti-copy advocate who will use every lever of power at her disposal to harm content creators. she -- have cause for content creators. she belittled their demonstrative pain and suffering and opposed efforts to fix the failed copyright system. during her time at the f.c.c.,
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she championed the f.c.c.'s attempt to unlock paid tv set boxes. this would have destroyed general property rights to the benefit of big tech companies like google. they have conveniently funded sohn over the years and never apologized for this disastrous policy. in a 2016 op-ed, she downplayed any concerns with this proposal by proposing only a hypothetical solution to address them. and, finally, anyone who doubts her radical views on intellectual property need to look no further, that she literally served on the board of directors for a company called locast who engaged in illegal copyright infringement. let that sink in gigi sohn, who
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worked on policies at the f.c.c. to destroy copyright owners' rights and then subsequently worked on the board of a company that infringed on those with the copyright. not only that, i have real concerns she appears to be hiding relevant information to the lawsuit. she failed to disclose the fact that the amount of money exchanged by locast was much lower than the reported $32 million settlement. as an explanation, she stated that she answered the questions within the confines of the settlement agreement, playing hiding the ball while seeking a position of public trust is not acceptable. i believe her nomination would undermine public confidence in the f.c.c. and our government. if this were any other nominee, especially a republican nominee, any one of these issues would be enough for my colleagues on this side of the aisle to stand up
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and ask the president of our party to withdraw the nominee. i hope my democratic colleagues will review ms. sohn's record just like i have in a fair and impartial manner and the reach -- and reach the only reasonable conclusion she cannot and must not be confirmed. i, again, call on president biden to withdraw the nomination of gigi sohn, i will make it clear that we won't allow such a radical activist to be confirmed to the f.c.c. thank you, madam president.
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. it mr. hagerty: madam president, for nearly two years, the u.s. capitol building and senate offices have been largely closed to the american people, whom we serve. our constituents have been unable to enter the senate buildings to meet with their representatives, and the americans of all ages, from schoolchildren to seniors, have been deprived of the patriotic sense of wonderment that comes from visiting the hallowed halls of the capitol building. the openness of the halls of congress and public participation in the legislative process have always been hallmarks of american democracy.
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it's long past time for the senate to reopen its doors to the american people. thanks to operation warp speed, vaccines have been available for more than a year to those who want them. americans have learned how to safely gather and enter public places, despite the pandemic. over 70,000 people attend the super bowl in los angeles on sunday, in fact. yet, there were reports that some of the leadership in this building want to significantly limit the number of lawmakers that are allowed to attend president biden's state of the union address in just a couple of weeks. from stores to venues and most workplaces and schools, the reps of the united states has reopened to gatherings and regular business. shouldn't the senate, whose buildings belong to the senate, do the same? that's why i've introduced a resolution providing that the senate first recognizes the importance of reopening the capitol and senate office
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buildings to the public, and second supports returning to the pre-covid visitor policies for areas within senate jurisdiction. i'm pleased that 26 of my colleagues have joined me as cosponsors of this legislation -- of this resolution. importantly, if there are operational matters that need to be worked out as part of reopening, this resolution provides no obstacle to doing so. it simply states that the senate supports reopening and recognizes the importance of doing so. i'm asking my colleagues to join me today in support of access to american democracy and are return to normal life and in opposition to endless pandemic lockdown. i'm pleased to be joined here today by my colleague from indiana. mr. braun. mr. braun: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. braun: as a range,ing member of the legislatures branch appropriations subcommittee, i rise today in support of the senator from tennessee's
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resolution to reopen the capitol and the senate office buildings. as he said, for nearly two years, we have not been operating, from what i was used to for the short time i'd been here prior to that. governors across the country finally are beginning to do the same thing, even in places where they are almost in lockstep with the way we were doing things here. today, you can only enter the capitol complex with an escort by a staff member. one of the things constituents from back in indiana enjoyed most, senior senator from indiana, todd young, started it before i got here, the hoosier huddle. from 9:00 to 10:00 every tuesday, every wednesday, we had folks from all over our state coming in to the capitol so we could have that conversation on
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issues that were important. now we do it by zoom. the rest of the country is saying enough is enough, want to get back to at least some of the ways that were in place prior to covid. now washington lobbyists are allowed in because of their close connections with congressional staff. but the american people don't van that same access, and that's just wrong. the legislative branch agencies have continued to provide support to congress throughout the pandemic. it's time that congress reopens the capitol to the american public, including hoosiers from my home state. i yield back. mr. hagerty: thank you. as if in legislative session, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to consideration of senate resolution 512,
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submitted earlier today. further, i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: is there objection? ms. klobuchar: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: reserving the right to object, i object. madam president, as chair of the rules committee, with oversight of the security of this capitol, i share senator hagerty's goal and senator braun's goal of ensuring this building is open and accessible to the public. i agree with them that it is important to reopen the capitol, and i personally can't wait to have my constituents back as well for our thursday morning breakfast. but we must do this in a way that takes into account the health and safety of everyone
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who works here, and not just the senators. this is a decision for the capitol police board in consultation with the medical experts in the office of the attending physician. while the worse of the omicron surge is behind us, and that is such a good thing, they have told us there's still work to do. at the same time, and i think this is one of our challenges as we look at how are we opening and how we do it, because i think we'll end up doing this incrementally, and i hope we can start soon, at the same time i'm going -- ongoing staffing challenges facing the capitol police are an important consideration that must be managed carefully by the capitol police board. the capitol police are already stretched thin. more than 130 officers have left the force since the january 6 insurrection last year. at a rules committee hearing that i held with senator blunt last -- just last month, chief
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manger testified that the department is down 447 officers. let me repeat that, 447 officers. the officers who remain have had vacations canceled and have worked significant overtime. the department, as we learned at our hearing of oversight, we had two in the last three months, the department has taken steps, and i personally asked about this, senator hagerty, because i care so much about reopening the capitol, they've taken steps to address these shortfalls, including addressing the number of recruit classes with the goal of recruiting 280 officers per year for the next three years. that's additional officers. the department has also taken steps to retain officers already on the force, including by issuing retention bonuses and hazard pay. we took a very important step last summer on a bipartisan basis to provide funding for
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security improvements at the capitol, and to ensure that the capitol police have the resources to do their jobs when we passed the emergency funding bill led by senator leahy and senator shelby, that the president signed into law. but as chief manger just said at a public hearing, when he explained that we were 447 officers short, which of course means who's at the doors, what doors are open, what back updo they have, he said we still have a ways to go before he has officers to staff all the posts needed to safely reopen to the public. so there's still much more work to do. i for one am in favor of making changes so we can begin the process of reopening as soon as possible. the capitol complex should, of course, reopen so americans from across the country can visit and see our democracy at work. we're simply relying on the health and security experts to
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ensure that how and when we do reopen that we do it safely for everyone that works here, including the staff. for these reasons, madam president, i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. hagerty: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. hagerty: madam president, i greatly respect my colleagues from minnesota, and i've enjoyed working with her on the rules committee, but her objection provides an unfortunate but clear answer. no, democrats don't support reopening the senate. hopefully, sometime soon, my democrat colleagues will wake up to the fact that americans are sick of endless lockdowns and the condescending message it sends to the american people that they need government to tell them what to do. regarding the objection that we need a more measured process in consultation with various officials, i talked with capitol police, the capitol police chief last week, and we can work with his team and the sergeant at arms to address any specific operational issues. we can also work with the
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attending physician. all of that is downstream of the basic question here, which is whether the senate supports reopening. if the senate supports reopening, then we can figure out the rest. senate leadership sets the policy for the capitol building, and the office buildings under senate jurisdiction. that's why we have different covid policies than the house. if it was up to the attending physician or the capitol police, the policy probably wouldn't change at the mid point of the capitol building as it does today. we're the elected officials in the building. we're the ones that were elected to make decisions. we shouldn't dodge that responsibility, and we need to lead by making a clear statement that it's time to reopen the senate to our constituents. it's unfortunate that many of my democratic colleagues don't feel the same way. we need to reopen the senate now. thank you, mr. president. -- thank you, madam president. i yield the floor.
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mrs. blackburn: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. if mrs. blackburn: thank you. over the past year, the biden administration has put out truly absurd propaganda, but last week they released something that was so over the top i had to double-check to make sure that it was real. yes, of course, it has up here that it was issued february 7, 2:00 p.m., and it's going to expire june 7 of this year at 2:00 p.m.. had all the markings of something that was legitimate, but it is so outrageous that i confirmed that it was actually a government-issued document. and of course, i'm referring to the homeland security memo that
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is summarizing the current threat, the terror threat, to the united states. under normal circumstances, you would expect a threat assessment to be a helpful document. that's what we've come to expect. but in this case, it wasn't obvious before, but now it is so obvious. it is crystal clear that conventional definitions of the word normal no longer apply to this administration. if you have not read this, you will not believe your eyes. what makes it so uniquely infuriating is the case with which d.h.s. used an official
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document to equate violent terrorists with americans who refuse to fall in line with the biden administration's narrative of the day. they did it so easily. just laying out their case of threat assessments to the united states. alongside descriptions of actual violence and threats against churches and schools, d.h.s. warns of, and i quote, the proliferation of false or misleading narratives which sow discord or under mine public trust in us government institutions. the bulletin specifically identifies, and i quote, widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated, widespread election fraud and covid-19 as
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key factors contributing to the current heightened threat environment. yes, you heard me correct. they identify widespread online proliferation of false and misleading narratives regarding unsubstantiated widespread election fraud and covid-19. so let's decode this. they're not just talking about acts of violence committed to achieve a political or an ideological goal. they are talking about dissent. and what does d.h.s. suggest someone do if they find themselves menaced in the court of public opinion? they want you to report the
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offender to law enforcement. that's right, report the offender to law enforcement. madam president, i've document floor time and again to detail just how frightened the american people are of joe biden's radical agenda, but this bulletin is the best evidence i've seen to date of just how frightened joe biden is of the american people. they must be scared to death over there in that white house. how dare anybody question them? how dare anybody call them into question for the agenda that they have. i'd even go so far as to suggest that this betrays his administration's desire to
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police the speech, thoughts, and opinion of american citizens and to deputize the public to help keep dissenters in line. the biden administration is as close as they ever have been to declaring that expressing public disagreement with their agenda is akin to an act of domestic terrorism. think about this. it isn't just an outrage. it is dangerous for a few different reasons. the most important of which is that it ignores the line differentiating violence and threats from constitutionally protected speech. the former have no place in public discourse. let me be very clear about that.
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the former have no place in public discourse. the latter is essential to the functioning of our democracy. indeed, this nation's democracy, madam president, one of the reasons that we have stayed free and -- in a state of democratic republic is because we share respect for robust, respectful political debate. but it appears with this administration, they've thrown that out the window to say it's our way or it's the highway. we don't want to hear any dissent. we don't want to hear a point or
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counter point. we don't want to entertain an objection. we're busy. we're busy pushing our socialist agenda. we don't have time for free thinking, independent individuals to raise their hand and ask a question. it's get in line time. we've got a short window. we've got to make this happen. i would suggest also, madam president, that it cheapens the horrors of actual terrorism and dilutes the perceived danger of violent extremism. it's an insult to the memories of those who died in the september 11 attacks and the oklahoma city bombing and to those who were at gunpoint at a colleyville, texas, synagogue. but lastly and most debt ceilin, it suggests that americans will
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never be safe until we consent to live in a constant state of fear. according to this bulletin, security is impossible in the face of dissent. it betrays a nightmarish and completely un-american end game. today i sent a letter to secretary mayorkas, urging him to make it clear that this is just sloppy communication on their part. madam president, i'd like to submit that letter for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam president. i'd also like to briefly quote for the record precisely what i asked him to do. i urge you to make very clear to the american public that the department of homeland security does not consider those who disagree with this administration to be domestic
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terrorists. i further urge you to clarify that the department will not interfere with the rights of all americans to speak publicly about their political views, including any views that might conflict with the policies and political talking points of this administration. i urge you to revise the bulletin to make clear to the american public that it is decidedly not the role of the department of homeland security to enforce particular narratives or to quash the speech of those who disagree with this administration, end quote. madam president, this is a very simple request. my hope is that secretary mayorkas recognizes his obligation to put everyone at
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ease by fulfilling it. i can guarantee there are people in my beloved tennessee that are very upset as they have read this bulletin. because they treasure their free speech. they treasure the ability to have robust political debate. they like talking with their friends and neighbors and having those discussions and seeing if they can pull them to their side of an issue, whether it's a lowell, -- a local, a state or a federal issue. they want to preserve that freedom. this memo says that freedom goes away, that it overrides the
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constitution, it overrides the rule of law. if you do it, somebody can report you, and it will be considered something not tolerated by this administration. the biden administration put out this bulletin to highlight a particular danger, but the real danger lies in the document subtext. even if secretary mayorkas makes good on his oath to defend the constitution and if he moves forward to revise the bulletin, i fear much damage has already been done. through this document, the biden administration has made it abundantly clear that they view dissent as a threat and that punishing dissent is the cost of maintaining public safety.
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i wish i could dismiss this as yet another political spat, but the white house is the world's biggest and most powerful bully pulpit. when the biden administration talks, people listen and they take them seriously. if what i've laid out today is not the position of the biden administration, it is their obligation to speak up and to correct the record. if it is their position, it is our obligation as elected representatives to put ourselves between the american people and any official who would dare tolerate such a dystopian power grab. also, we should remind those
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officials that how they feel about our constitutional right to dissent is absolutely irrelevant. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. ms. warren: i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. warren: thank you, madam president. i rise today regarding president biden's nominees to the federal reserve. i just came from the banking, housing, and urban affairs committee where we met in order to advance an extraordinary
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group of candidates who were nominated to the federal reserve. as our nation's top economic policymakers, these nominees will be charged with steering our country through one of the most difficult environments the fed has faced in many years. but republicans have decided to block any attempt for the banking committee to consider this group. why? because they object to one of the nominees whom they have pummeled with particularly desperate attacks. professor sarah bloom raskin will bring deep experience to the role of the fed vice chair for supervision. during the height of 2008 financial crisis she was on the front lines as the state of maryland's top financial regulator. as our country slogged through the aftermath of the crisis, professor raskin was a governor of the federal reserve, facing difficult policy decisions as she worked to help families
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rebuild. she then served as deputy treasury secretary, helping to shepherd our nation through the postcrash economic expansion, an expansion that has turned out to be the longest on record right up until the pandemic struck. professor raskin has unparalleled expertise in both the monetary policy and financial regulatory components of the job. few people in the entire nation are as qualified for this role as she is. now i understand that republicans are launching hysterical attacks on her over climate issues. never mind that her views align with those of the rest of the nominees. never mind that she has a history of sound judgment at the fed. never mind that community bankers have spoken glowingly of how well she worked with them during a time of great stress.
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never mind anything. the republicans are also launching bad-faith attacks about ethics without the facts to back them up. now if we're going to discuss ethics, be then let's be clear. professor raskin has voluntarily committed to the strongest ethics standards and post employment limitations of any nominee to the federal reserve ever. in fact, each of these nominees has voluntarily committed to stronger ethics standards except one -- jerome powell. that's right. republicans on the banking committee are united in voting for the only one of the five fed nominees we are considering today who has refused to voluntarily commit to stronger ethics standards. this is particularly hypocritical because chair
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powell is currently presiding over the biggest ethics scandal in the fed's more than century-long history. we should recognize these attacks on professor raskin for what they are. there is no actual concern about professor raskin's ethics or about her extraordinary qualifications. no. these are bad-faith attempts to take down a highly qualified candidate who is committed to actually doing the job of regulating the biggest financial institutions. let's be absolutely clear about what is happening here. when president biden decided to renominate jerome powell to run the federal reserve, he did so over the objections of myself and others who believe that a trump republican who is a lifelong wall street banker and whose record clearly
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demonstrates analogy to financial regulation is a dangerous choice for the fed chair. i lost that argument, and the president instead extended an olive branch to all of the republicans in this chamber who urged the democratic president to let republican j. powell stay on. what has been the republican response? they are lighting that branch on fire. the republican minority is getting their preferred federal reserve chair, a member of their party, but they won't support the president's extraordinarily qualified vice chair for supervision. instead the republicans are smearing her daily with unfounded accusations and ugly innuendo and now they are threatening to break the senate by using a loophole to blow up the process we all agreed on
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last year for how to deal with nominees in this closely divided senate. the republicans lack the votes to block this nomination from going forward so now they refuse to participate in the process that they previously agreed to follow in the hopes that they can prevent a nominee with majority support from getting a confirmation vote. if republican senators want to boycott the raskin nomination, that is their choice, but democrats are the majority in this body and we can choose how to respond. republicans who want to vote against raskin are free to do so, just as i intend to vote against powell, but we should not reward this effort to block nominees with majority support from even receiving votes. every one of these five nominees to the fed should move together and should get votes on the
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floor of the senate. and if republicans refuse to abide by the spirit of the agreement they made last year, then it is up to the democrats to enforce it. we need to advance all five of president biden's nominees to the federal reserve and we need to do it now. thank you, madam chair. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. mr. kennedy: thank you, madam president. madam president, as you know, and as my colleagues know, our budget process is finally moving and i wanted to come down to the senate floor today to say a few words about -- about the need for disaster relief. i'm going to talk about louisiana, but not just louisiana. two states in particular come to mind, kentucky and new york.
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i hesitate to single out specific states because i don't want to denigrate the needs in other states. we have a number of states that need disaster relief and the way to address that issue it seems to me is in our budget bill. madam president, as you know, louisiana has, like many of our sister states, has suffered many natural disasters throughout our history. my constituents, my people are very tough. they are very tired but they are very -- but they're very tired. and the reason they're tired is because they've been through a nightmare in the past year and a half, i guess two years now. they faced what has felt to me
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like a non-stop series of hurricanes, of storms, of floods. and no matter how many times you have been through a natural disaster, i can tell you it doesn't get any easier to see your home demolished or to see your home flood or to see your business blowing away. and that's why, as we're working out at government budget deal -- and i hope we can work out a budget deal -- i want to make sure that washington doesn't forget about my people in louisiana and forget about the other americans who, through no fault, have their own -- have sustained damage from a natural disaster and need a little help. the storms and the floods that hit louisiana in the last year
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and a half are not just a distant memory for many of my people. louisiana families are going to have to live with the consequences of everything the gulf has been throwing at us for a while. that means broken buildings, that means wrecked homes, that means destroyed businesses, that means debris cluttering the streets, and that doesn't even begin to -- to describe the mental anguish of having a hurricane uproot your life and your livelihood and -- and your kids' education and your ability to go to church on sunday. so i wanted to remind all of my colleagues today, madam president, of the litany of
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catastrophes that have befallen my state. i'm -- i mentioned -- i mentioned this list not to ask for your pity. let me say it again. louisianans are tough. we're tough as a boot. we are tired, but -- but i want my colleagues to understand that i'm not talking about a simple rain shower here. my people have been through a lot. in august of 2020, madam president, hurricane laura made landfall on louisiana. hurricane laura destroyed or damaged more than 100,000 homes. laura leveled or damaged almost every single building -- every one in the city of lake charles. then came hurricane delta right behind laura in october of
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202020. delta left more than -- october of 2020. delta left half a million americans -- rather louisianans and americans, of course, without power. not just for a few minutes, not just for that few hours, for days. that very same month hurricane zeta tore through louisiana. zeta caused approximately 400,000 louisianans to lose damage and many of their businesses. now we're in 2021 and an historic winter storm hit my state, president toly state. 37,000 people lost power. now, even when temperatures warmed, we didn't find any
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relief because that may historic rainfall soaked parts of my state. by parts, i don't mean a little bitty corner of my state. i mean big parts of my state. the rainfall drenched lake charles -- remember i referenced lake charles to laura, which had already been battered -- 12 inches of rain hitting lake charles and you know the result. if you get 12 inches of rain in a short period of time, as we did in lake charles, you're going to flood. i don't care if you live on pike's peak. then hurricane ida. it made landfall in august of 2021. ida was one of the worst hurricanes ever to devastate my state and one of the worst hurricanes ever to make landfall in the united states of america. the only hurricanes that have matched its strength in terms of
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wind speed were hurricane laura and the last island hurricane of 1856. wind speeds for hurricane ida were clocked at well over 100 miles an hour, in some cases 120, 135 miles an hour. ida damaged more than 90,000 homes and caused roughly a fifth of all the people in my state to lose power. and i don't mean to just lose power for a little while. lose power for days, weeks, months. now, we're still catching our breath, as you can tell, madam president, but just as we were about to catch our breath, we had another hurricane. hurricane nicholas. it hit louisiana with between -- depending on the area -- between five and ten inches of rain, and
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that was only a few weeks after ida. and now, after all of these -- these floods, after all of these hurricanes, after all of these storms, after all of these catastrophic rain events, after this -- this -- this terrible string of disasters, fema is implementing risk rating 2.0, a plan that's going to make flood insurance virtually unaffordable for the people of america and for the people of louisiana. madam president, louisiana families, again, we're not asking for your pity. we don't want pity in louisiana. we're proud people. we're tough people. but we're tired and we pay taxes
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like everybody else does and just like some citizens in other states, kentucky, new york, to name two, we need a little help. we need -- we need to address all of these needs, not just for my state but for the other states that need help in our budget. if you add up the damage estimates from laura -- hurricane laura, delta, zeta and ida, we're talking about 130,000 homes destroyed. and according to estimates from -- from my state back hole, from the governor and the legislature, louisiana still needs hundreds of millions of dollars to help fix the damage that laura and delta inflicted on our housing needs and the small businesses of southwest louisiana and -- and, frankly, i mentioned ida and the severity
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of ida, the damages for ida will probably cost a little more than $2.5 billion. we have -- we in louisiana have recovered from -- from natural disasters before and we're going to recover from these, but we're going to need help to rebuild just like the people of kentucky are going to need help, just like the people of new york will need help, just like the folks -- my fellow citizens out west are going to need help to recover from wildfires. and i fought before to get to disaster recovery relief for my people. i don't think i have ever voted against a disaster relief bill to help my neighbors in other states, and i'm going to keep fighting. and i urge my colleagues not to forget the people in louisiana and the people of america who have suffered these natural disasters as we work out our budget. with that, madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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on the russians. at that point, arguably too little too late. >> there are a lot of parents around the country that are increasingly fed up, and one of the reasons for that is just the proliferation of mask mandates. you know, you've seen a lot of, at least recently, democrats, officials in settings where they're not wearing masks with a
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lot of young kids around. you saw at the super bowl a lot of people, prominent celebrities, that weren't wearing masks enjoying the super bowl. it seems like -- and a lot of blue states right now are lifting the mandates. it seems like the only place we haven't seen any relief is when it comes to the biden administration's proposal with respect to our toddlers who awe tend head start -- attend head start programs around the country. this is something that parents are tired of, they're tired of these mask mandates for their kids. there is no science out there to support this, and it needs to be repealed. you shouldn't have 2-year-old toddlers being required to wear masks not only when they're inside, but when they're outside on the playground. that's exactly what this biden administration mandate does. and i hope they will repeal it, but we are prepared -- i've introduced a congressional review act resolution of disapproval that would are
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repeal that mandate. all it takes is a simple majority to do that in the united states senate, and we can put everybody on the record. but, you know, right now parents are faced with a choice, and it really should be up to them, it should be up to parents and guardians about whether or not these little toddlers have to wear masks. it shouldn't be up to the biden mask police. these mandates need to stop, and we need to put parents back in charge of their young people and or particularly when it comes to the issue of education where these masks have proven to be a real deterrent to young kids being able to learn in school. >> well, joe biden is the president of high prices. inflation will be a defining failure of this president's administration to the point that in just one year as president, joe biden has driven inflation to a 40-year high.
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and at the same time, he's driven his own approval ratings down to a low of only 40% of americans. if and the reason we're seeing this is because people are paying the price and feeling the pain. when we go to the grocery store, when we go to the gas pump, they're paying a dollar more a gallon now than they were when joe biden became president. wages may be going up a little, but prices are going up much faster. so people can't coop up. keep up. prices have gone up month after month after month since the president has been in office. people are feeling the squeeze. and who's getting hurt? well, it's working families trying to get by. if the average family in the united states has to spend $275 more each and every month now just to stay even from where they were a year ago a compared to what it would have cost last year. so people are going to have to change and are changing the way
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they drive, the way they shop, the way they live. people are having to tap into savings if they have savings. inflation if is crushing people's dreams. energy prices are much higher to heat your home this year. who's affect by that? well, it's people trying to get by, it's people living on a fixed income, people struggling, young couples, all of it. and on the specific issue of inflation, a harris-harvard poll shows only 3 in 10 americans support what the president is doing on inflation. only 3 in 10. that means that every republican and just about every independent and a whole lot of democrats don't guy or believe -- agree or believe in what joe biden is doing on inflation. so what's his solution? more government borrowing, more government spending. that's going to make inflation worse. when people look at this president, they see somebody who is out of touch and in way over his head. and unfortunately, the american
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people are paying if for this president's incompetence. >> well, on the inflation front the biggest driver of the inflation number, the 40-year high inflation number, is energy prices. and, frankly, the energy prices are exactly reflecting what the administration and a majority in the senate say they want to do. they want to raise traditional energy prices so high that people have to look for turns -- alternatives, and they've certainly managed to do that. a 40% increase in gasoline at the gas pump, a 50% increase in a lot of home heating bills, 10% increase on energy across the board. and then some of my colleagues think the solution to that is to eliminate the federal gas tax that funds highway, road and bridge construction. they must not have read the plan
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on their side, because the plan on their side very much reduces output, makes us more energy if dependent on other countries -- energy dependent, and is designed to raise energy prices. all you have to do is get your home heating bill or go to the gas station to find out just how successful they are. >> the united states is one of the greatest producers of energy out there. and yet under the biden administration, he has made us ever increasingly dependent upon russia and iran for our oil sources. so the united states has increased its imports from russia to 202,000 barrels a day. from russia. that's the highest that it's been in 11 years. and, again, we are one of the largest producers of energy
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right here in the united states. so why on earth are we ratcheting down on our energy independence and and becoming increasingly reliant upon an autocratic thug, vladimir putin? and we see what he is doing to the ukraine because of their dependence on other sources of energy. so let's ramp up our own energy production here in the united states. let's uncouple from vladimir putin. let's become an exporter of american energy once again. it's really important. again, why are we relying on russia for our energy needs? and while we're on the topic of russia and ukraine, what i would like to know from this administration is how are we going to safeguard american citizens that reside in ukraine? we have heard very little from
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the state department, and it is their obligation to make sure that we are protecting our american citizens abroad. and yet we have heard nothing about a plan to evacuate americans. i am very concerned that we are going to see afghanistan a 2.0. what we need from the state department is more than a 1-800 number. we need a real plan, and we need to protect americans abroad. >> for years the media parroted the democrat narrative about russia collusion, and now as we're learning week after week, it was a complete lie. the latest with the durham report is that the clinton campaign, same group that fear mongered this russian collusion, actually spied on the president of the united states. they spied on the president of the united states. they spied and they lied. we need accountability. we need accountability for the clinton campaign, we need accountability for adam schiff
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and jerry nadler, because they were complicit in this. so the media needs to start doing their job, talk about exactly what's coming out and hold these people accountable. on top of that, the attorney general, garland, he needs to be out there making sure durham has all the resources he needs to do a thorough investigation. >> [inaudible] do you think we're going to have government funding? is there going to be an issue with -- [inaudible] senator blackburn is concerned about the -- [inaudible] can it be worked out or are we going to be here friday? >> yeah. as is often the case, we'll process a few amendments before doing the short-term c.r., i think it'll all be worked out. there's no danger of a government shutdown. >> [inaudible] you all have been railing about inflation for months -- [inaudible] the mark-up of all --
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[inaudible] is that a responsible way to deal with inflation by -- [inaudible] >> well, these are highly controversial nominees, extremely controversial. who have repeatedly expressed the view that the fed should be involved in things that are not the fed's responsibility. the best way for this to stop is for the president to quit serving up these kind of nominees. we have to have the most responsible people at the fed if now, not the least responsible. the fed has got a big job ahead of it in trying to tackle inflation, and i think there's a lot of skepticism that many of these nominees are not up to the job. [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible]
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>> it will be unfortunate for the whole world. i mean, you can't have a major conflict in europe without having an adverse effect on all parts of globe, which is why everything that could possibly be done to deter the russians before an invasion is critically important. >> [inaudible] >> well, i think the next election is critical in sending the current administration a message about how it's been conducting the affairs of our government. democratic president, democratic house, democratic senate, look at the results. look at the results. the american people are going to have an opportunity this fall to give a midterm report card on
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the performance of this all-democratic government. we are optimistic that they'll want to push the pause button, want to give congress concern the other party. and i've said repeatedly if they do that, we'll give the president finally an opportunity to keep his pledge to the american people to be a moderate. >> [inaudible] [inaudible conversations] >> okay. i'm proud to be joined by our leadership team of senators
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durbin, murray and stabenow. a lot of enthusiasm today, a lot of new ideas focusing on lowering costs for working families. whether it's childcare or prescription drugs or semiconductor chips or filling up the gas pump, what's on the dining table, the cost of food, we're coming up with solutions to address these issues. that's the big difference. between democrats and republicans when it comes to lowering people's costs. we have real answers. they don't. they just attack. and why don't they have answers? because much of the time it goes after the special interests that support them. so they don't want to deal with the oil companies or the meat packing companies or the shipping monopolies. so we are focused on getting costs down, and you're to going to see a lot of activity in march on us -- from us on that issue. now, let's not forget we're a
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very strong economy. in president biden's first year the economy added 6.6 million new jobs, the most ever, ever in a president's first year. but we're not stopping there. now that wages are going up, we want to make sure costs go down for the average person to have more money in his or her pocket. and that's what our whole lunch was about or most of our lunch was about today. various members came up with different ideas, and we're going to focus and we're going to come up with caucus agreement on those ideas. not everyone will agree with each idea with, but there'll be large buy-in, and you'll hear a lot about this from us as we move on. and one of the ways we're reducing costs, of course, is the competition bill to relieve u.s. supply chains. that was bipartisan. and on any of these cost-saving bills, we'll welcome republicans joining us. we can get 60 votes on a bunch of them, that's fine. but when we can't, we're still going to move forward, and you'll see some votes on the
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floor on these as well. we've been pushing for years, for instance, to lower the cost of prescription drugs. we think it's an outrage that insulin should cost $600 per month rather than $35 a month. and we're working with republicans on anti-trust bills to increase competition. so, as i said, some will be partisan, some will be bipartisan, but we have solutions, and we're going to focus like a laser on reducing cost. the new proposals and ideas keep coming, and we're going to propose legislation, and we're going to move forward, and we're going to go back to our states and start talking about these things. some of the members have already, as you've probably seen in their local newspapers or even reported in the national media. americans -- and so we want to get that done. our goal is to have wages that have increased stay up, the cost that americans pay, much of it
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induced by covid go down and people are much better off. and that is where we're headed. so let me first call on senator durbin. >> thanks, chuck. it was a very spirited caucus, and i think we have identified some ideas that we're starting to develop. and the goal is clear, we need a credible, simple approach that american families understand. we want to help these families make ends meet, but we don't want to make the inflation worse. we've got to come up with a plan if that addresses that. each family has a different challenge. we know that inflation is a challenge to all of us that we can deal with. and there are several elements that a we think are going to help this economy improve. first, have we reached the covid corner yet in we don't know the answer yet, but there are promising signs as we watch hospitalizations and death rate go down just ever so slightly, but moving in the right direction. secondly as chuck mentioned,
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that we be more competitive. we need more jobs right here in the united states. we need to make sure that workers have jobs, that businesses are expanding. there are many exciting opportunities. over the weekend i was with pete buttigieg, senator duck worth and governor pritzker in normal, illinois. we were addressing the new rivian plant and the impact on the economy of creating 5,000 new jobs in that community. good american jobs making a product in america for americans to buy with. we think that's a viable part of illinois' future and america's future. let's find other opportunities to do exactly the same. secondly, we've got to make sure, as i mentioned, the competition with china. but the third point is look for the concentration of ownership that's driving prices up. what do the oil companies have to say? why are the prices so high at the pump? if is it for profit taking? same questions could be asked when it comes to food products and across the board. we're not afraid on the democratic side to ask those hard questions and to follow the
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real cause of the problem. that means there's going to be a realistic approach and one that the american people understand. >> senator murray. >> well, thank you. you know, when it comes to lowering costs and helping families make ends meet, democrats haven't just been talking the talk, we have been putting forward solutions and putting money back in americans' pockets. i've seen firsthand what our work has meant to families. in my home state of washington, thanks to the policies democrats passed, we provided more rental and heating assistance and helped people stay in their homes and keep the heat on this went. we -- this winter. we saw a record number of people sign up for quality, affordable health care, and we are bringing high-speed internet to 240,000 people who currently do not have it and making it more affordabl- mr. brown: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you. something happened today in the banking, housing, urban affairs
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committee that i've never seen before in the united states senate. three weeks ago, senator toomey, the ranking member, the senior republican on the committee from pennsylvania, senator toomey and i agreed that there would be a committee vote today for six nominees, sandra thompson, who would be head of the fhfa, lael brainard, vice chair at the federal reserve, jay powell, the sitting chair, who would be -- has been renominated to confirm him as the chair, and then three new members of the federal reserve -- sarah bloom raskin who would be vice chair of supervision, also philip jefferson and lisa cook. this would be the -- i think the best-qualified, most diverse in terms of gender and race but also most diverse federal reserve in terms of knowledge and perspective because one of
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the most poignant, i think, legitimate criticisms of the federal is federal reserves always look like me but they think like wall street. this is the first time where i've seen a federal reserve with the breadth of knowledge. there's a -- the president wants toate point a gentleman who -- the president wants to appoint a gentleman who grew up right near fedex stadium, a form bank regulator and federal reserve governor and also was number two at treasury in addition to the two federal reserve members, lael brainard would be elevated to vice chair and jay powell. that's just all background, to show, mr. president, the diversity and breadth and depth of these five members. they would bring a perspective on our economy that matters to your voters in connecticut and mine in ohio, that they don't
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have this lean towards wall street, they don't have this sort of singular view of the federal reserve. they understand that the federal reserve should be -- look at the economy through the eyes of workers. we have a chance right now to appoint a federal reserve board, the seven members of the board, that really will put workers at the center of our economy, really have a -- we have a president who does that now. i think we have a senate that increasingly does that, and that will mean that we'll pay -- the federal reserve will pay attention to wages. the federal reserve will fight inflation. that's their job. they'll do a number of things that will matter to our economy. now, this would be the first time, mr. president, that there would be a full complement of seven governors on the federal reserve. it is a seven-member board. president trump never filled all seven of those jobs. president obama tried to at the end of higgs term but never quite got there.
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this would be the first time in a decade. what makes that important is they're tasked with fighting inflation. part of the problem is the excess profits in the oil industry, the excess profits among the meatpackers, the excess profits among the shippers and companies taking advantage of shortages and taking advantage of the pandemic. we know that drives inflation. and we also know that some of our best tools are the federal reserve to fight inflation. what i've said earlier, i've never seen something happen like happened today. three weeks ago senator toomey and i, as i said, agreed to have this vote for these five nominees of the fed and also the nominee for the federal housing finance agency, and do those all together today. we agreed three weeks ago. senator toomey didn't like the answers from sarah bloom raskin. he said, i don't like the way she answered. how this works, for people that aren't in the senate and do this
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every day, how this works is after a hearing, senators on a committee can simply write questions. it's called q.f.r., questions for the record, that they didn't get to ask in their five-minute slots in committee. they send them in. well, republicans led by senator toomey sent almost 200 questions to sarah bloom raskin. it is clear that republicans don't want her. she has been too strong standing up to wall street, too strong speak being out about climate and the role that the federal reserve has in assessing risk, based on climate, in loan -- in loan -- lending decisions on on the fed. she's not telling banks whom to lend to. she's just saying we should assess risk. it is not very good policy to loan -- to provide a loan for somebody in a floodplain when they've had hurricane damage year after year after year after
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year. you have to loan a lot of money for a business, things like that that the federal reserve needs to assess, the banks need to assess, the fed needs -- so what happened today is senator toomey, because he didn't like sarah bloom raskin's answers -- as i said, he sent almost 200 letters -- she answered almost 200 letters from senator toomey and his colleagues in 48 hours. then another republican senator sent her several more questions, and she answers those when she didn't have to. so she lived up to her side of the agreement and then some. and so senator toomey didn't like her answers, so he pulled away every republican member from our committee so when we met today at 2:15, as planned for three weeks, as noticed by the committee officially about a week ago, no republican showed up. and maybe that wouldn't matter except the senate rules are you have to have one republican at least show up.
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you need 13 members of the committee to conduct business. so we had 12 democrats sitting in the room and the other side of the room was empty. and we couldn't take action. so what that means is we now have jay powell, a nominee to be federal chair of the federal reserve sitting waiting. we have lael brainard sitting and waiting. we have three people who aren't even on the board of the federal reserve yet, sarah bloom raskin and lisa cook and philip jefferson, who are just in abeyance. maybe it doesn't matter about the three of them. they're public servants. they chose to do this. what does matter is the federal reserve board only has four people on it now and i don't know when we're going to fill it because rank member toomey and the other 11 republicans on the board have decided they are not going to show up and do their job. when we come to the senate, a the junior senator from connecticut knows this, you
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aren't given a little sheet that say, here's what you do here. you vote yes, check the box yes, no, or -- i don't think i'm going to work today. i think i'm going to boycott a vote. that's not what you do. they have full rights to vote no and oppose these nominees. i assume they will oppose some of them. but they really don't have is the right to just decide, i'm going to take my ball and go home, that i'm not going to work today, that we're going to boycott this vote. so we all took an informal vote, all 12 of us voted -- well, 11 of us voted for all six, one of us vote for five and six. and would have confirmed them overwhelmingly if republicans had shown up and split their votes or whatever they would have done. it is just too bad. it breaks my heart. that's not how we've ever done things. i don't argue that our committee is always bipartisan. it is not but i do argue that pretty much all of this, pretty much all of the time show up and cast votes and do our jobs.
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i see there are new pages here on both sides of the aisle. this is the beginning -- i think their second week. i'm sure they've learned from their textbooks, their college books, i'm sure they watch us here and think, well, i don't really like that senator. he's kind of a nice guy, but -- but they also know that they take positions. and the last thing, mr. president, i have heard so many republican members talk about inflation day after day after day. it is a problem we have to address. it is a problem we absolutely have to address. and they of course blame president biden for everything, and that's okay. i expected that. but they talk about inflation, but then at a time when we actually could address the problems with inflation, one of the most important tools in the federal government to address inflation is the federal reserve, and the federal reserve, seven members of the federal reserve sit with the 12 fed presidents from around the country and they make decisions on monetary policy and they debate and discuss with a wide
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perspective of voices and a wide array of voices and that's just not going to happen until they decide, let's vote on these five members of the federal reserve. so i wanted to inform my colleagues of that. we all -- 12 of us showed up. 12 members didn't. didn't have a -- really good reason except they didn't like one of the answers that one of the fed nominees gave and that's not a good reason to not do your job. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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>> okay, i'm proud to be joined by our leadership team of senators murray and stabinau. a lot of enthusiasm, new ideas on focusing costs lowering costs for families whether it's childcare or prescription drugs or semi conductor chips or filling up the gas pump , what's on the dining table, we're coming up with solutions to address these issues. that's the big difference between democrats and republicans when it comes to lowering peoplesoft . we have real answers. they don't. they just attack. and why don't they have answers? because much of the time it goes after special interests they support so they don't
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want to deal with the oil companies forthe meatpacking companies for the shipping monopolies . so we are focused on getting costs down and you're goingto see a lot of activity in march . on that issue. let's not forget we're very strong economy. president biden's first year the economy added 6.6 billion new jobs, the most ever in a president's first year. but we're not stopping there. now that wages are going up we want to make surecosts go down for the average person . and that's what our whole lunch was about or most of our lunch was about today. various members came up with different ideas and we're going to focus and come up with caucus agreement on those ideas. not everyone will agree with all ideas but there will be large by in and you'll hear
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more about this from us as we move on. one of the ways we are reducing cost of course is the competition bill to relieve us supply chains. that was bipartisan and on any of these cost-saving bills we will run welcome republicans joining us. we can get 60 votes on them, that's fine but when we can't we are still going to move forward and we will see votes on the floor on these as well. we've been pushing for years to lower the cost of prescription drugs. we think it's an outrage that insulin should cost $600 per month rather than $35 a month. and we're working with republicans to on antitrust bills to increase competition so as i said some will be partisan, some will be bipartisan but we have solutions and were goingto focus like a laser on reducing costs . the new proposals and ideas keep coming and we're going to propose legislation and
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move forward and go back to our states and start talking about these things. some of the members have already as you've probably seen and local newspapers, they're even recorded in the national media. so we want to get that done. our goal is to have wages that have increased stay up. the cost that americans pay much of it induced by covid go down and people are much better off and that is where we're headed so let me first call on senator durbin. >> thanks chuck, it was a spirited caucus and i think we've identified some ideas that we are starting to develop and the goal is clear. we need a credible, simple approach that american families understand. we want to help these families make ends meet but we don't want to make inflation worse. we got to come up with a plan that addresses that.
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each family has adifferent challenge and we know inflation is a challengeto all of us we can deal with and there are several elements we think will help this economy improved . first , have we reached the covid corner you? we don't know the answer but there are promising signs as we watch the hospitalizations and death rates go down ever so slightly moving in the right direction. secondly as jeff mentioned that we be more competitive. we need more jobs in the united states. we need to make sure workers have jobs that businesses are expanded. there are many opportunities and over the weekend i was with pete buttigieg in normal illinois and we were addressing the impact on the economy ofreading 5000 new jobs in that community . good american jobs making a product in america for americans to buy. we think that's a viable part of americans future.
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let's find other opportunities to do exactly the same. secondly we got to make sure as i mentioned competition with china but the third point islook for the concentration of ownership that's driving prices up . what do the oil companies have to say? what are the prices so high at the pump? same questions could be asked when it comes to food products and across-the-board . we're not afraid on the democratic side to ask those hard questions and follow through to the real cause of the problem and that means there will be a realistic approach and one the american peopleunderstand . >> senator murray. >> when it comes to lowering costs and helping families make ends meet, democrats haven't just been talking the talk, we've been putting forward solutions and putting money back in americans pockets. i've seen firsthand what our work has meant to families. in my home state of washington thanks to the policy democrats passed we provided more rental and heating assistance and help people stay in their homes. to keep the heat on this winter. we saw a record number of people sign up for quality affordable healthcare.
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and we are bringing high-speed internet to 240,000 people who currently do not have it and making it more affordable for all of them. to name just a few examples so when it comes to delivering for families democrats are a party focus on getting it done with or without republicans. and this past year by the way we've done both. we've taken significant bipartisan steps like our historic infrastructure bill which is lowering costs for internet, transportation and clean energy and were continuing to work on a bipartisan bill to strengthen our supply chain and bring down prices here by making us less reliant on manufacturing abroad. but let's be clear, at the end of the day if we can take a step to put money back into families pockets, if we can make life a little bit easier for people especially when times are so hard going to do it whether or not republicans
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are willing to do the right thing and work with us because as we see publicans talk about costs but actions will speak a lot louder than words. and one democrats passed the american rescue plan which nearly cut child poverty in half, millions of people healthcare coverage for less than $10 a month and took so many other steps to help families make ends meet we did that without a single republican vote. democrats are now continuing to push or more steps to lower prescription drug costs by giving medicare new power, to negotiate prices for patients and by capping the cost of insulin, the drug millions need to survive at just $35 per month. we're pushing to support working families by ensuring every parent can get quality affordable childcare and early education for their children. in providing paid leave that doesn't cost anyone anything
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to take time off to care for their loved ones and want to pay for all this by asking the wealthiest americans and largest corporations just to pay their fair share.the difference is clear. democrats are taking action to lower costs for families and we have fully paid for plans to do a lot more. meanwhile i've heard a lot of talk but no serious republican plan. to help lower families cost-of-living going forward. if republicans want to show families they are serious about helping people make ends meet our doors are open. i hope they choose to work with uson what we see as a clearly serious problem . >> thank you. you know, this last year it was a headline that democrats deliver but there's more to do and that's what we're focused on for the coming year as it relates to the cost that families are feeling every day. and there's no question that our country still faces supply-chain challenges.
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i certainly from michigan can speak about what that means and everything that we buy in terms of cars and appliances and every part of the economy and we are laser focused on addressing that. and the increased costs due to buttigieg and over and over again when we look at what happened when you shut the economy down in the united states and globally the ripple effect is in every part of our lives. so we have been laser focused and will continue to be laser focused in addressing that. and republicans have done nothing to lower costs. they have proposed nothing to lower costs. we've worked with president biden to pass the american rescue plan that put shots in people's arms and create safety for them, for their family to get kids back in
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school when the president took office there were 46 percent of children in america in school. now it's 98 percent. that's a big difference and we understand the challenges families face under covid but it's safer. children are back andlearning in the classroom and we've gotten our economy moving . in the fastest strongest way since 1984. it is amazing the underlying strength evenwhen we've seen costs go up which are very real . so consider a michigan family with 2 young children. dad works at a manufacturing plant. mom manages a local restaurant. they're not wealthy but they work hard and they get by. then the pandemic hit this michigan family needed help and the american rescue plan delivered . we established the restaurant revitalization fund so restaurants stay open and keep her on the job. republicans voted no . and we provided larger ... is.
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khashoggi khashoggi i'd ask is. unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: thank you. thank you, mr. president. mr. president, for three decades, the violence against women act has been at the forefront of our efforts to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. this legislation provides survivors with access to programs and resources that promote safety and healing. it bolsters our criminal justice response through protections for survivors and provides critical training for law enforcement officials. it prioritizes programs and grants to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault from occurring in the first place. i've been a longtime victims' rights advocate, dating back to my time as attorney general of
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my state and i'm a proud supporter of the violence against women act and i think that's a common sentiment in this chamber. republicans and democrats alike agree we must do more to provide services and protection for the victims of violence against women act, even if we don't agree exactly on what those changes should look like. unfortunately, like many good bipartisan ideas, this became a political football over time. when the time came to reauthorize the violence against women act in 2019, it was dragged through the gutter of washington politics. some of our friends across the aisle prioritized controversial partisan provisions over sound bipartisan policy. they even opposed the short-term reauthorization of the existing law when we couldn't agree and ultimately the violence against women act even expired.
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but here's the good news. for three long years, the bipartisan group -- a bipartisan group of our colleagues has continued to work on a longer-term reauthorization and for a while it looked like we were making good progress. our friend from iowa, senator ernst, is an unshakable advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. and she's led the efforts on this side of the aisle to reauthorize the violence against women act. she's worked with a bipartisan group of senators to come up with something that's acceptable to both sides, but they were never able to move past the controversial sticking points -- until now. and apparently the tides have shifted, and i'm grateful for that. after three years of waiting, we've seen real progress on efforts to reauthorize the violence against women act. last week a bipartisan group of
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senators introduced legislation to extend and modernize that legislation, and i'm proud to be a cosponsor of that. senators ernst from iowa and senator murkowski, our alaska colleague, have led this effort on the republican side, and i want to commend our colleagues for their leadership. they put in countless hours over the last few years to reach this compromise and obviously it was not easy. the fact that this bill already has more than 20 bipartisan cosponsors speaks volumes about their success. we couldn't have gotten to this point without the dedication of our friend, the senior senator from california, senator feinstein, who's been engaged in these discussions from the beginning. i appreciate the hard work that she and senator durbin, the chairman of the judiciary committee, put into this bill and their willingness to make
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sensible compromises so we can hopefully get this signed into law without further delay. like all legislation, this bill is not perfect but, as the saying goes, you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. throughout the negotiating process, i've raised concerns about some of the provisions, and they've -- i've seen our colleagues work in good faith with us to address many of those issues. there's no question in my mind that this is a good bill that will go a long way to modernize the violence against women act and ensure that it continues to serve survivors. the vawa reauthorization act extends this legislation through 2027 and builds on the advancements made in previous reauthorizations and improves access to services, especially those in rural communities with
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fewer resources. it promotes partnerships with law enforcement and victim service organizations to provide victim-centered training for law enforcement officers. it approves grants to help with victims services and strengthens existing campus grant programs for colleges and universities. it establishes a pilot program to support domestic violence for victims seeking employment, and it takes aim at relatively new by establishing the national resource center on cybercrimes against individuals. this legislation also invests in a broad range of grant programs, training and resources to support survivors of domestic violence and prevent similar crimes from occurring in the future. i'm glad this legislation includes provisions from a
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number of bipartisan bills that if i've introduced with colleagues here in the -- that i've introduced with colleagues here in the senate. one example is a bill that the presiding officer will appreciate that i introduced with senator coons called the nics denial notification act. if someone attempts to purchase a gun -- in other words, they lie about their legal qualification to purchase a gun -- but is denied when the nics background system comes back with a hit indicating that they're disqualified for one of a variety of legal reasons, right now local law enforcement is not notified that somebody tried to the buy a firearm and lied about it and was denied access to that firearm because of the national instant criminal background check system. under federal law -- under current law, federal officials are notified when individuals, clawing convicted felons and
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domestic abusers, fail a background check, but they're not required to notify state and local law enforcement, people in the best position to actually be on the lookout for people who may be a danger to their community and to themselves. this legislation will change that. this legislation will require the department of justice to notify relevant state and local authorities within 24 hours of a failed background check. now, there are some organizations that are disparaging this particular provision, basically misrepresenting what it does, so i want to be clear about what it does do. what it does do is addresses somebody who lies in the course of filling out a background check, indicating indicating the not disqualified only to find out when checkingings -- checking the system that they in fact are.
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obviously, these folks are up to no good if they're lying about their ability to purchase a firearm under current law, and it just makes sense that in addition to federal officials being notified of the convicted felons and domestic violence abusers that state and local law enforcement be notified as well. this notification would include name of the individual, as well as when and where they attempt to purchase a firearm. this information gives law enforcement the ability to investigate and intervene before a potentially deadly attack occurs. it should set off all sorts of alarms when a convicted felon or domestic violence abuser lies in an attempt to purchase a firearm. the violence against women act reauthorization act also includes legislation that i introduced with senator durbin, the chairman of the senate judiciary committee. it's called supporting access to
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nurse exams act. sexual assault nurse examiners, known as sanes, are on the front lines of our support. these are the nurses that perform the examinations on rape victims and who help identify and convict sexual offenders. this provision improves and existing grant program that funds sexual assault forensic exam programs. we don't have enough of these sanes or nurse examiners. it will put this -- this bill will put more money into the field to train more of these sanes to provide for their salaries and to increase access in areas of the country that need sanes more, particularly rural areas. these men and women are crucial to our efforts to deliver justice, and this is an important step we can take to address the nationwide shortage
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of sexual assault nurses. over the years, the as soon as and the congress has done a lot -- the senate and the congress has done a lot to eliminate the rape kit backlog, which at one point totaled a reported 400,000 backlogged rape kits. these rape kits are forensic examination kits which contain the d.n.a. which which is so esl to identify the perpetrators of sexual assault and which has the miraculous ability or seemingly miraculous ability to actually exonerate some people who may be misidentified through a advice visual identification. many of these individuals who commit these sexual assaults will do so on a serial basis, so once we've been able to identify them through a successful rape
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kit evaluation, we can bring them to justice. once again, i want to commend senators ernst and murkowski for their tireless efforts on behalf of victims nationwide to get us to this point. the violence against women act has change add the lives -- improved the lives, actually, of countless survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. so it's time for us to come together and to reauthorize this crucial program. i'm proud to support this legislation and i hope senator schumer, the majority leader, can find time to put it on the senate calendar and to vote it out without delay. mr. president, i yield the floor. and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the democratic and republicans and it has more support from the postal workers and postmaster the joy who is a friend of resident trump's. nevertheless it is locked. i am sure republicans don't want to be the party that was responsible for blocking popular and bipartisan postal reform. the delays were regrettable but the good news we will get bipartisan postal reform done. it's been negotiated for months and debated for decades.
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it has enough bipartisan support, more than enough. ms. lummis: i ask unanimous consent to suspend the quorum call for a few minutes so that i might speak. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. lummis: mr. president, i am just profoundly sad and humbled and proud to honor the memory of a cherished son of wyoming. more than anything, i rise to honor my longtime friend leland christianson. leland was most recently state director for my u.s. senate office. truly his death cuts me to the depth of my heart. i have known leland for decades, and there are few losses in my life that i have ever felt as deeply as this one. leland was all wyoming. he was tough as nails, endlessly patient, and unwaveringly kind. prior to his time in my office,
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leland served the people of wyoming and our great nation in a number of roles. he was formerly a member of the wyoming national guard, a sheriff, a county commissioner for teton county, a state senator, and chair of our state senate's judiciary committee, a deputy director of the wyoming office of homeland security, and of course most recently state director for our u.s. senate office. when i was elected to the united states senate, i knew i needed leland on my team because he loved wyoming people. he loved to help his fellow man. he cared about the challenges faced by our state and its people. his smile would light up every room, and his laugh was infectious. he was a joy to be with.
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he was my dear friend. he even guided my daughter and me into the teton wilderness along with his own family on horseback to hoch's rest, the most remote place in the lower 48 states. intense, in the rain, fishing fishing, with mules, paniers, packs, it was an incredible experience. we also floated the snake river together, with leland at the helm of his own raft. his knowledge and skill had a timeless quality to them. he rescued people in swollen rivers. he rescued their horses. he searched for people in wilderness areas because he knew the wilderness areas like the back of his hand.
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he was a totally unique human being. his knowledge and skill was so timeless, he would have thrived and excelled had he lived 200 years ago just as surely as he did in the 21st century where he skillfully navigated legislation, people issues, computer issues, listened to endless books on tape while he traveled all over wyoming. he was a timeless, wonderful individual. i can honestly say i never worried about whether my team was taking care of the needs of my constituents in wyoming because i always knew that leland was watching. he always made sure that anyone who needed help with a federal agency was assisted and that our team was doing everything possible to help them resolve
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their problems. by every estimation, certainly by my estimation, he was ten feet tall and bulletproof. but in his own good time, god calls all his children home to be of service there. leland was prepared for his service in heaven each and every day throughout his entire life of wyoming. i can remember leland praying before a meal out in the wilderness with such gratitude that you had heard a sermon in gratitude by the time he was done offering grace over a meal. i've talked a lot about leland as a public servant and a friend, but he was first and foremost a loving and devoted father and husband. i am mourning his loss with his
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wife anita, children hunter, brittany, simone, jed, and wyatt, their spouses and his grandchildren. my staff and i, many of whom are here today joining me in this senate chamber, along with the entire wyoming community, tens of thousands of which knew leland and loved leland, and we are all praying for leland's family. words cannot truly convey the loss that we as a team feel since leland passed away. i've worked with hundreds of colleagues, many of whom i've cared for very much, but rarely do i come across someone whose sincere humility, generosity, and selflessness come close to those of leland christensen.
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every day spent with leland was a better day. he was the definition of both civil servant and statesman. and on behalf of the people of wyoming, i want to say thank you for his service to our state and our country. mr. president, i yield back.
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i overheard some of my colleagues here on the senate floor complaining about what happened at the senate banking committee today, and i want to address this, set the record straight, and provide a little historical context which i think is important. last week the chairman of the senate banking committee, chairman brown, indicated that he wanted to have votes on six nominees within the banking committee jurisdiction. five were to be governors of the
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federal reserve. they had been nominated to federal reserve posts, and one is the director of the fhfa. now i told the chairman last week that as far as republicans on the committee were concerned, we were perfectly fine proceeding to votes on five of the six, five of the six nominees we were ready to have votes on. and those five included the chairman of the federal reserve j. powell, the vice chair lael brainard, nominee professor lisa cook, nominee professor phillip jefferson, and the nominee to be the director of the fhfa, sandra thompson. all of those, we were fine with the vote. by the way, some of those nominees have significant republican support. at least one, i think, has no republican support on the
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committee, but that didn't matter. we were prepared to go and vote on these nominees. but the sixth nominee that chairman brown wanted to have a vote on, sarah bloom raskin, and i told him then -- this was like last thursday -- that she had chosen not to answer quite a number of important questions that we had that is the normal part of the vetting process that a committee goes through when there's a nominee. in particular, she chose not to answer questions about a highly unusual transaction that occurred on a company on whose board she sat after she left the fed, her position as governor at the fed and then senior treasury staffer. chairman brown said he'd help us get answers to these questions
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but we've been stonewalled. we were stonewalled before. we've been stonewalled since. and so today i informed the chairman that it's the review of the republican members of the committee that we can still go ahead and vote on the five. i've heard them talk about how important it is that we populate the fed with governors. four out of the five nominees, we were prepared to vote on are fed governors. we could have had that vote already. we could have that vote tonight. we could do it tomorrow. there's no problem with that. but rather than advance five nominees through the committee, chairman brown decided he'd rather have zero. so we're at zero. that's his choice. he could have had five advance through the committee. and you have to ask yourself why would it be so important to my democratic colleagues that we forego the opportunity to move five along the process if it means that for now sarah bloom
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raskin doesn't get a vote for what, by the way, would be a ten-year term on the fed. and there's only one plausible explanation for why they would be willing to leave all these vacancies when they could go down the road through the process of filling these vak sister. -- vacancies. and apparently it's because getting the climate warrior into this spot on the fed board of governors, specifically the vice chairman of supervision -- that's the spot for which sarah bloom raskin has been nominated -- getting her there must be the most important thing. in fact, it must be more important than getting all five of the other people confirmed because that's the decision that they made today. so then you've got to ask yourself, why would that be that important? why would it be so important to get ms. raskin in this spot at the fed.
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well, again, i think it's pretty clear what's going on here. and that is that our democratic colleagues have a climate agenda for which they don't want to take responsibility. we're seeing this manifest itself. it's the energy policy of this majority, the democratic majority and this administration has contributed significantly to this huge surge in energy prices, and it's kind of causing a panic over there because the american people don't really enjoy paying $5 a gallon or more for gasoline. they're not looking forward to to20%, 30%, 50% in the cost of heating their home. they're not in favor of the policies that our democratic colleagues advocate, which is shut down pipelines, ban drilling, make sure we make less energy, make sure we produce less oil and gas, the energy we need for our daily
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lives, because when you do produce much less, prices go up. the american people are not that enthusiastic about this. so for our democratic colleagues, there's a bit of a dilemma, right. how do you satisfy the climate warriors who absolutely want much higher prices, absolutely want to shut down energy production, but how do you do that without getting crosswise with the voters who really don't think that's a good idea? how could you balance that? well, there's a way to do it. just shirk your responsibility and put it on the fed. perfect. don't deal with legislation. don't let the american people know what you want to do. and certainly don't take responsibility for the consequence of your actions. let the fed do it, and then if the fed does these policies and prices go through the roof, blame them. it's perfect.
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and lo and behold, we have the nomination of sarah bloom raskin. she's got very impressive credentials. she's very smart. but she also told us exactly what she wants to do. she's told us repeatedly. she's told us in speeches. she's written op-eds, she's written articles, right up through last year where she has specifically and forcefully advocated that we use the supervisory powers of the fed, which are ee norm fuss, to -- which are enormous to steer fossil fuel away from fossil fuel energy companies and steer it towards politically favored industries. so, in other words, turn the fed into a body that allocates capitol. turn the fed into a policy-making arm of the government. it's a shocking notion that the
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fed, who's supposed to be responsible for monetary policy, supposed to be responsible for stable prices and full employment. haven't been doing such a good job on the stable prices front, by the way. what they want to do is have the fed take on this whole new -- it's perfect from their point of view. it's a way to advance this climate agenda without having to take responsibility for it. so, mr. president, that's the reason that i'm strongly opposed to sarah bloom raskin serving as the vice chair for supervision on the fed, but that is not the reason that every republican agreed that it would be premature to vote on her candidacy today. see, the reason for that is because she refuses to answer questions. it was very difficult getting a complete -- i don't if we even now have a complete application
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from her. there were things dribbling out that should have been presented as a complete package when we much earlier in this -- we were much earlier in this process, but now she's refused to answer very fundamental questions about a firm called affirm trust and her role there. let me walk through the sequence of events and i think you will see why we have questions. reserve trus is a -- fintech company and they decided it would be enormously valuable to them to have access -- to have direct access to the federal reserve payment wires. to get that access, they applied for something that's called the master account. well, to my knowledge, the fed has never approved a master account for a fintech company of this nature. and so unsurprisely the fed
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turned -- unsprissingly -- unsurprisingly the fed turn it down. then sarah bloom raskin, who is on the board of reserve trust, she had been a fed governor and she had worked in the senior post at treasury and then she joined the board of reserve trust. after the application got turned down, sarah bloom raskin called the president of the kansas city fed and lobbied for them to get the account. now, how do i know that? it's because the president of the kansas city fed told me. but sarah bloom raskin hasn't. when asked the question, did you call anyone at the fed on behalf of reserve trust? she seemed to develop a case of amnesia. couldn't recall. that's funny. the people who received the call
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remembered and the chairman of the board of reserve trust knew all about this call, but sarah bloom raskin had no recollection. so what happened next? so they applied for the master account, it's turned down, sarah bloom raskin calls the fed and then within months the federal reserve does a 180-degree turn, reverses itself and approves the transaction. a few months after that, sarah bloom raskin steps down from the board and pockets $1.1 million in stocks that she had been are granted. all right. about that sequence of events i don't think there's anybody that disputes the actual accuracy. what we want to know is, how did this happen? because now the federal -- the reserve trust is the one fintech in america, that i'm aware of, that got a master account at the fed.
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it's enormously valuable. at least it is to them. you should see the advertising they do about it. they were turned down and then it was all approved. so i think we have a responsibility to find out how did that 180-degree reversal by the fed take place? how was that decision taken? who made that decision and why? and we've asked for the documents that would substantiate that. an explanation would be nice and documents to back it up. we asked that of sarah bloom raskin. she told us she doesn't recall whether or why it was important to reserve trust to get the master account. that's funny. it seemed like it was the most important thing to that company and she was on their board and she made the call, but this is the kind of stone -- stonewalling we're dealing with. can't get answers to basic
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simple questions, who did you talk to, what did you talk to them, what was the nature of the conversation, what and from the, what was the process, do you have anything from the general counsel? there's lots of applications out there pending. there are a lot of fintech companies that would love to get the master account that reserve trust got. if there is a way to do it, they should be able to decide whether as a business manager if they want to purview that. -- pursue that. it's pretty hard to pursue that when they are getting stonewalled as we are getting stonewalled. it's pretty rich when i hear some of my colleagues come here and complain that republicans didn't show up at the committee today. this is the only recourse we have. when we're getting stonewalled, we can't get an answer to basic
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questions, which it's our responsibility to get answers to these basic questions, what else can we do? there's nothing else we can do. we offered to vote on the five nominees that actually did provide answers to the questions in their applications, but, as i said, the chairman preferred to have zero people advance today rather than have five. and it's particularly rich when you consider that the chairman himself just in the last couple of years urged his democratic colleagues to boycott a finance committee markup over nominees that he wasn't satisfied with. so, mr. president, i think this context is important and i remind my colleagues, republicans on the banking committee are quite happy to vote on five nominees, including four fed governors, but we're not willing to vote for
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ms. raskin until we get some answers to our questions. i yield the floor.
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mr. president last night and this is relative to the bill on
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the calendar for second reading. last night we had a chance to continue progress on a bipartisan long overdue postal reform bill when i moved expeditiously with a few technical errors to the legislation by the house. sadly my request was blocked by the jr. senator from florida without much in the way of clear explanation. for instance he says he wants to stand up for postal workers. all the organization's representing postal workers wrongly support this bill. they are eager for it. he says he wants to protect the strength of medicare but the cbo says "the proposal" this bill will save the government money. so i hope for the sake of our postal workers, our postal service and the millions, tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of americans who depend on the postal service that this is not obstruction for destruction's sake.
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this is a textbook example mr. president of why americans often get frustrated with the senate and with washington. postal reform is highly bipartisan. he got a majority of votes in the house from both parties. it's desperately needed. we'll hear from our constituents about snail mail and the price they pay for it. it's backed by both parties in both houses including the chairman and ranking member of the relevant committees the democratic and republican leaning members. and it has broad support from the postal workers who attended the democratic and postmaster at the joy who is a friend of president trump's appointed by him. nevertheless it was blocked. i am sure that republicans don't want to be the party that was responsible for blocking popular and bipartisan postal reform. the delay is regrettable but the
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good news is that we will get bipartisan postal reform done. it's been negotiated for months and debated for decades. it has enough bipartisan support, more than enough, ample support to become law and i'm hopeful we will move it to this chamber as quickly as we can and that's with a procedural motion i did before was about and i certainly want to thank my colleagues of at both sides of the audio are working on this bill particularly my friend chairman gary peters who spoke passionately last night in defense of the bill in i look forward to getting postal reform passed through this chamber very soon. next on the cr and -- on this year. before the end of the week the senate must come to an agreement to pass a short-term extension of government funding in order to give appropriators more time to complete it a year-long omnibus. the most responsible thing we
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can do is to support our appropriators to continue their bipartisan work to finish in omnibus. no one and certainly not my republican colleagues want a republican government shutdown so i'm hopeful that they will cooperate with us to pass the necessary cr which every single democrat wants to happen and will cooperate to make sure that happens. once again i think chairman leahy and ranking member shelby for their leadership and for working in good faith to arrive at a year-long spending agreement. i also commend my colleagues in the house chairman delauro and ranking member democrat and republican for their work. a year-long abbas is 1000 times better than relying on a cr continuing resolution to lurch from one short-term extension to the next. i remain up to mistake the low sides will keep working together on drafting legislation to fund the government so it can fully serve the american people here
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at home and in the meantime both sides you come to an agreement to make sure the cr the continuing resolution to short-term funding of the government is passed by this chamber and avoid any hint of a government shutdown. now, mr. president last night i spoke on additional defense nominees including les paul and they are nominated to international security affairs. if this were any other time mr. president ms. wall under's nomination would have failed with unanimous consent without the need for roll call vote. at the committee level her nomination was approved with strong support from both parties and frankly should have been approved unanimously at the moment she was reported out of the armed services committee. many on both sides of the aisle recognized we need her at the
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pentagon now has one of our her nation's top experts on russian affairs and her leadership is vital right now. sadly, sadly one republican, just one has objected to ms. wallander confirmation without offering any justification so we are going to take up floor time to advance the nomination the long way just as we have done for many nominees who take up unprecedented obstruction by a small group of republicans. this is not a small group of the majority senators. a small group using this on a rule which are outdated and stand in the way and slow the whole process down. endangering our security. let's be clear, to intentionally delay the confirmation of the critical pentagon position an expert on russia at a time when we need her in the position the most just to score political
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points is the definition of and it is actively making the american people less safe. sadly ms. wallander is far from the only nominee being held up i obstruction of some arae. the jr. senator from arkansas has also placed holds on the number of u.s. marshals, men and women whose job is literally to protect the public and prosecute criminals. if my republican colleagues are so concerned about public safety, why are they standing in the way of confirming some of the most important law enforcement officers in the federal government collects it's "alice in wonderland" logic. it's delay for delay's sake especially when new reasons keep coming up to justify these tactics. one reason comes up and then another one comes up. seems like some of these colleagues just want to abstract to obstruct and opposed to
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oppose bad for america, bad for democrats and bad for republicans. hijacking the rules of the senate to place a bet blanket holds on nominees has no legitimate justification and when it comes to nominees past with advancing our national defense and are diplomacy and a public safety it only makes the american people less safe. as long as these delay tactics continue we will continue to hold folks on these nominees as necessary. that means more late nights with a large number of votes in one sitting like we have had to do over the last two weeks and that's what we'll we will do. now one lowering costs. in president biden's first call. the senator from north dakota is recognized. mr. hoeven: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to pay tribute to the late north dakota attorney general wane benjamin. earlier in month, north dakota laid to rest a dedicated public servant to our state who was both a colleague and a true
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friend. wayne spent over two decades serving the people of north dakota. he worked to make our state a better place to live. moreover, he was a fierce advocate for the rule of law and the rights of north dakotans. wayne was the best of what our state has to offer. he called his north dakota his home for the entirety of his life. he was born in mohall, north dakota, graduated from the university of north dakota and received his law degree from the university of north dakota school of law. he started his career in public service in north dakota's state legislature where he served for 24 years, first as a member of the north dakota house of representatives and then as a member of the north dakota senate. he ran for the position of attorney general and was the longest-serving attorney general in the state's history, having held the position for 21 years. in fact, wayne and i both ran
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for state office in 2000. we spent much of the year traveling the state together. once elected, we were able to start our service in statewide office at the same time. it was a blessing to have my time as governor and now senator to coincide with wayne's service as attorney general. this not only provided us many opportunities to work together on issues important to north dakotans, it allowed me to get to know him as a friend and to experience his many great qualities. he was incredibly intelligent. he had a tremendous sense of humor and possessed a deep knowledge about a wide have hava right of subjects from sports to trivia to history to law. you name it, wayne was one of the most intelligent people i'd ever met. there's much to miss about wayne and many great memories to be grateful for. wayne is survived by his wife, beth bachey stenman and his son
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andrew aas long with many, many other loved ones much he had a large family and he loved them all. mikey and i extend our deepest condolences to wane's family and all of his loved ones. north dakota lost a strong advocate for our state but his legacy will continue on. rest easy, wayne. thank you for your friendship. thank you for all that you accomplished. mr. president, i would yield to my colleague from north dakota. mr. cramer: mr. president? like senator hoeven i associate with every word that he said. it is gratuitous that we're joined by the next speaker who came to talk about something different. but senator wicker knew our attorney general maybe longer than i knew him actually, senator wicker. so, mr. president, as senator hoeven said a couple weeks ago the good people of north dakota lost a really good friend.
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we said goodbye to one of our state's most dedicated and beloved public servants. attorney general wayne stenehjem announced his intention not to seek reelection and retire at the end of this year. he was north dakota's longest-serving attorney general having been in office since 2001. prior to this, he was in the state legislature winning his first election at the age of 22 and continuing his service for 24 more years. he gave 46 years of continuous service to the people of north dakota. we're just now beginning to comprehend the impact of the significance of all that he did for our state during those important years. i first became acquainted with wane when he was serving -- wayne when he was serving as a state senator and i was a desk page in the legislature.
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our friendship and political collaborations continued during the years, as he worked for the north dakota republican party and later held state-appointed and elected offices. in the nine years i have been in congress, wayne has been a valued friend, a trusted advisor, and an invaluable champion of states' rights and the united states constitution. his work representing north dakota in state and federal courts and as a member of the state industrial commission was monumental. it positioned our state to be an energy powerhouse and at the same time an unwavering steward of our environment. among the most notable federal issues that wayne championed for our state was objecting to the own otherrous waters of the -- onerous waters of the united states legislation. at the led a group of 136 states resulting in a nationwide stay of that rule. he was also instrumental in procuring an historic stay of the clean power plan from the united states supreme court.
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in cases he skillfully underscored the rights and responsibilities of states while drawing a blueprint for cooperative federalism and environmental policy. wayne's servant leadership over the past four decades was woving into countless battles and solutions. an ardent supporter of transparency in government, every public group including governor hoeven, public service commissioner kramer and anybody in government understood, regardless of the size or the importance of your commission or your committee, we all felt wayne's scrutiny on behalf of transparency for the people. he developed innovative ways to crack down on illegal meth production and to better control the opioid epidemic. human trafficking and domestic abuse issues were also always, always at the top of his priority list and on his radar. he was a fierce advocate of law
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enforcement, the brave men and women who protect the safety of our communities. they all knew that wayne had their backs a. his work was progressive yet he was not a grandstander. he worked quietly. wayne smiled all the time. he literally smiled all time and on the very rare occasion he didn't, you were probably in trouble and you probably deserved it. but it was rare. he was a fun-loving person. he knew what to take seriously and what to enjoy. his balance of life is really what endeared him to so many people. wayne was the same person last month that he was in college, which is his greatest testament, i think, to public service. when you accomplish as much as wayne did and reach the pinnacle of service as he did and he's the same guy who represented the university of north dakota in the state legislature 46 years ago, that says it all about his
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character and about wayne's stature. wayne is recognize the as among of the very elite attorneys general in the country. the attorneys general who attended his funeral speaks volumes about the high regard to which he was held by his peers. so, mr. president, north dakota and our nation have lost at true patriot and wayne left an incredible legacy that we can all celebrate. he dedicated his life to public service in our state, and our state is a much, much better place because of them. thousands of people knew wayne. thousands more and really millions were impacted by wayne's good work, particularly in the attorney general's office. in the context of eternity, our life is but a snap of a finger. but in the context of history, wayne's contributions are massive and long-standing. on behalf of all north dakotans, chris and i send heartfelt constituent to his wife and his son, his very large family and his very, very large extended
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family and the legion of dedicated friends and admirers. as a lifelong eagle scout, wayne was no doubt familiar with the famous scouting adage, leave a place better than you found it. wayne left this state and this nation a better place. may we all be inspired by his public service and the impact it had on all that is excellent about north dakota today. rest in peace, friend. i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the
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senator from mississippi. mr. wicker: i rise to call attention to two remarkable daughters of the state of mississippi, two basketball legends, lucia harris and ruthie bolton. these two mississippi athletes took women's basketball to new heights, and they continued to inspire countless young girls to follow their dreams in sports. last year when the academy awards announced their nominations, we learned that a "new york times" documentary on the life of basketball legend lucia harris had been nominated for an oscar. this hit documentary has already received nearly 700,000 views on youtube, where viewers can find it under the name of "the queen
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of basketball." i was certainly thrilled to hear the news of this nomination, and i encourage every american to watch the 20-minute film. it's a story of american grit and determination and the story of an extraordinary mississippian breaking multiple glass ceilings in the world of sports. known by her friends as lucy, ms. harris led an extraordinary life, becoming a three-time national champion and olympian and the first and only woman officially drafted by the nba. the first and only woman ever officially drafted by the nba. unfortunately, we lost ms. harris all too soon last month at the age of 66. lucy harris, a mississippi
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delta native, was the tenth of 11 children born to sharecropper parents. as a child, she would stay up past her bedtime watching the basketball greats -- bill russell, wilt chamberlain, cream abdul jab -- kareem abdul jabar, oscar robinson. in her words i wanted to shoot that ball like they did, and i did. unquote. at a towering height of 6 foot 3, she became a super star at high school in greenwood, mississippi. when she graduated in 1973, title 9 was fresh off the books, opening up options for college basketball. lucy was quickly recruited to delta state university on a scholarship where she led her team to three consecutive
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national championships as the team's only african american player. as she put it, when i got the ball, i knew my job was to score, and more than likely i would score. lucy averaged 25.9 points per game and 14.4 rebounds while she was at delta state, where the women's game started to sell twice as many tickets as the men's. her raw talent and leadership lifted the lady statesman to a record of 109 wins and 6 losses during her tenure. 109 and 6. and to this day she remains delta state's all-time scoring leader with 2981 points. it should be no surprise that lucy was recruited for the 1976 olympics in montreal. there she made history by
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scoring the first points ever in a women's olympic basketball game and led team u.s.a. to a silver medal. if that wasn't enough, the following year she was recruited by the new orleans jazz, a men's basketball team. but by then she had married her high school sweetheart, george stewart, and was pregnant with her first child, and so she turned down the chance to play for the new orleans jazz. instead, she returned to delta state university where she served as an assistant coach and earned a master's in education. she later became a high school teacher and girls basketball coach at her alma mater in greenwood. and in between, she spent two years coaching women's basketball at texas southern university in houston. lucy harris' name is forever written in the history books.
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in 1992 she became the first black woman to be inducted into the basketball hall of fame and was later ushered into the women's basketball hall of fame and the international women's sports hall of fame. she is survived by her children christopher, eddie, christina and crystal, all of whom have won college degrees and who carry on her memory. if the wnba had existed in the 1970's, i think we can safely assume lucy harris would have continued to dominate the court for many years. she did not get that chance. the nba would not come into existence until 1997. but i'm proud to say that another daughter of mississippi, ruthie bolton followed in the footsteps of lucy and carried the torch forward. lucy bolton was born -- ruthie
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bolton was born 12 years after lucy harris hailing from green county, mississippi. she was the 16th of 20 children. ruthie first dreamed of a career in basketball as a star player for mclean high school, where she led the team to a state championship. then she landed a scholarship at auburn university, where she helped the tigers to three southeastern conference titles and four ncaa tournament appearances. ruthie bolton went on to play 15 seasons of professional ball in europe, including the country of turkey, and in the united states where she played eight seasons for the sacramento monarchs. she also helped team u.s.a. win two gold medals at the olympics
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in 1996 and 2000. ruthi bolton now stands shoulder to shoulder with lucy harris in the women's basketball hall of fame. mr. president, my wife, gail, and i had the honor of meeting ruthie bolton a few days ago while touring her native green county, mississippi. we each got to hold the two gold medals, and ruthie and i were given the privilege of leading a local lunch crowd in a verse of "amazing grace." as we celebrate black history month, i am immensely proud to honor these two outstanding mississippi athletes. in her oscar-nominated film, lucy harris had this message to the next generation of young americans. she said, and i quote, i
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especially want those young children to understand that if you work hard, anything is possible. that was the optimistic attitude that made lucy harris such a success. those were great words of advice to our future heroes, words proveed true by people like mississippians, lucy harris and ruthie bolton. i yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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dump trillions of dollars in the left-wing spending and covering our economy that have the preconditions for some
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inflation. everybody warned democrats about it and republicans that supported a smaller targeted bipartisan stimulus that had rarely started. even top liberal economists warn democrats the agenda would spark massive inflation. consequences for working families have been particularly harsh. central goods are played in outsized role in driving up prices overall. it's harder to put dinner on the table with eggs meat and fish are 12% more. it's harder to fellow cars with gas that is 40% more expensive and to heed home with natural gas has gone up 24% and fuel oil has gone up 47%. this is reality for millions of americans. they are living it every single
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day. yet the biden administration seems less interested in trying to solve this problem and trying to persuade families the pain is just in their heads. one recent serb ported members of president biden's team or quote seemingly mystified about why the american people want to celebrate this economy. well if washington democrats >> five minutes talking to a middle-class family on confident they would cease to be mystified. when 40% of americans have seen their income fall more than an entire percentage point over the last year due to inflation. many americans who haven't managed to secure an 8% pay raise in the last year has actually received a real pay cut by the democrats inflation. the american people are porting their lowest consumer sentiment in over a decade, 75% say our
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economy is doing badly. almost 80% expect inflation to get worse. six in 10 say their family's income ease and keeping pace with the cost of living. these are not statistics the white house can wave away. we are actually talking about human pain. a working mother in michigan said quote i cannot buy the food that i would normally buy for my family. in washington state a single mom of four who also cares for her elderly parents says she has had to take weber family foods like frozen pizza and wings and make them quote more of a treat than just a regular meal. this is where democrat policies have left working families. now on a related matter does democratic cost inflation is force the federal reserve and the board of governors into a tricky position.
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while the country is carefully watching the board of governors the senate happens to be considering several president biden's nominees on that very same board. later today i'll meet with chairman powell who president biden wisely renominated to serve another term. chairman powell has provided -- is proven to be a straight shooter within the mainstream of monetary policy. his creative leadership helped save target entire economy through the early days of the code recession. i look forward to discussing inflation and the state of our economy with chairman powell. unfortunately several president biden's other fed nominees appear to have been significantly less wise in this election. one nominee professor cook from michigan state university has previously promoted partisan conspiracy theories. in 2022 called for a fellow academic to be fired because he
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opposed the funding the police. the white house cites among professor cook's qualifications that she sits on the board of directors of the regional fed in chicago. she was appointed to that position just two days before president biden nominated her for this one. or troubling still is president biden's nomination to be extremely powerful position of vice chair of supervision. this slot comes from a major unilateral power but the president's nominee sara bob loom raskin has spent years pressuring the feds to stop being a neutral regulator and become an ideological left-wing left-wing -- ms. will raskin has argued that unelected fed governor should use their powers to declare ideological war on fossil fuels and affordable american energy.
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ms. raskin once i'm banking system to pick winners and and sticking families with higher gas prices higher electricity bills and more dependence on. and she wants to implement this agenda from inside one of the least directly accountable institutions in our government so that voters simply have no recourse. the far left is boasting that this green new deal would only be the first step. democrats apart introduced legislation that would get the federal reserve into the redistribution business and generational preferences centaur -- these unpopular ideas would up and institutions that americans need to remain nonpolitical, nonpartisan and nonideological. governors governors are supposed to be neutral regulator's not
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economic policy dictators that voters can get rid of. if this were disqualifying enough potentially significant have been begun to swirl around ms. raskin's non-mission. during her time out of government ms. raskin became affiliated with an obscure financial technology firm in colorado. surely the actor somehow mysteriously the small company became what appears to be the only non-bank financial tech company in a entire company to receive the special master account that allowed them to directly access the core federal reserve system. this is an obviously worrisome topic. i understand senators have not even been able to get ms. raskin to satisfy their basic request for information. i would president biden to find a better more mainstream or by
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the partisan candidate to serve in this crucial institution. i rise today in response to russia's alarming and impending threat for the independent nation of ukraine. as we speak vladimir putin continues to ready more than 100,000 soldiers, tanks artillery, aircraft and missiles along ukraine's border. ukraine's north belarus russia has position tents at thousands of war troops as part of the military exercise. ukraine russian ships are amassing in the sea. propaganda and disinformation on the internet and on channels are part of the russian playbook we
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now know very well. the kremlin's intent is to manufacture a pretext for its aggression and sow divisions in the west. russian troops already occupy vast tracks of ukraine in crimea and continue a quote unquote low-grade war in eastern ukraine, a war initiated by mr. putin that is cost already over 14,000 lives. ukrainian soldiers have been bravely fighting and dying to protect their country from what has been aggression from russia. we hear even from ukrainian leadership that their forces will face an unequal fight in a full scale russian invasion and unfortunately couldn't help. be outnumbered and overwhelmed.
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while moscow has amassed the largest concentration of military forces since the end of the cold war he continues to make accusations that it is not ukraine. somehow russia that is under threat although while making demand that ukraine never join nato or control its own destiny. even if it threatens its role with ukraine mr. putin demands to be the head of the local governments. he has one-on-one meetings with other world leaders are being invited to diplomatic meetings. he rails as russia has done singled out for sanctions demands respect even if he lays out a thesis denying ukraine is or ever was offensive with its own traditional language aspirations or sovereignty.
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what mr. putin really fears is the view crain succeeds in building a nation where ukrainian speaker and russian speaker have genuine freedom can vote in free elections and further our destiny. that happens when russians may start to wonder why they have to live in a country where putin has practically made himself president for life eligible to stay in office. where questioning the endemic correction of the russian state trying to run a business without paying off officials or even expressing an opinion can lead to detention trump up charges or as we too often seen even from the military grade nerve agent. mr. putin fears that ukraine
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could prove to be a model of what russia could become without its kleptocratic regime. mr. putin says he feels threatened by nato wants to go back to the good old days when the ussr held europe including ukraine. he has decided to seize chunks of ukrainian territory and you don't latterly changed europe's borders. this is a new position for putin. it's a long help you. in 2005 he called the soviet union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. in 2008 he invaded georgia. when putin seized control of crimea he sent in his little green men and adopted his doctrine for warfare. he felt unconstrained to send
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agents of the russian state to assassinate those he sees weather in london scipio or vienna. and he is built up his arsenal and threatened his neighbors. putin as we know has crashed even the slightest hint of political opposition at home and russia. all of this well wanting to be seen as a victim and as is the leader of a normal participant in community admissions. these actions are not and cannot ever be accepted or except a by the civilized world. for forests in the united states and the west president biden and other western leaders have taken the right approach as recently
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as the visit by the chairman chancellor this week in a dialogue about russia's exaggerated fears regarding european security. nobody wants a military conflict between powers. the president clearly stated u.s. troops are not being sent to ukraine to fight russia. at the same time h. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all in favor say aye. opposed, no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. schumer: i move to proceed to calendar number 267, h.r. 6617. the clerk: h.r. 6617, making appropriations for fiscal year-ending 2022 and for other purposes. mr. schumer: i send a cloture
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motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 267, h.r. 6617, an act making further continuing appropriations for the fiscal year-ending september 30, and for other purposes. mr. schumer: i ask consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask alaskan of the week that the -- i ask that the mandatory o.c.o. -- mandatory quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask that the senator be allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask that the judiciary committee be discharged and the senate proceed to s. res. 438. the clerk: designating october 30, 2021, as a national day of remembrance for the
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nuclear workers of the united states. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and will now proceed to the measure. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the senate now proceed to the en bloc consideration of the following senate resolutions introduced earlier today. senate res. 515, 516, and 517. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the resolutions en bloc. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, preambles be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of the following bills en bloc, calendar number 163, h.r. 2044, calendar number 164, h.r. 118,
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and calendar number 262, h.r. 960. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measures en bloc. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that the bills en bloc be considered, be read a third time and passed and that the moargses to reconsider the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table all en bloc. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: i have seven -- mr. president, i have seven requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority leader and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. wednesday, february 16, that following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and morning business be closed. that upon the conclusion of morning business, the senate proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the wallander nomination. a that at 11:30:00 a.m., the
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cloture motions filed yesterday ripen, the senate vote on the wallander and honey nominations consecutively and in the order listed. further, if cloture is invoked on either nomination, the votes occur at 3:30:00 p.m. in the order in which cloture was invoked. finally, if any nominations are confirmed during wednesday's session, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and and the president will be immediately notified on the senate's actions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
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